Game and Fish seeks public input at meeting on Heritage Fund wildlife areas

[Source: Karen Warnick, White Mountain Independent] – Five large wildlife management areas in Apache County are owned and operated by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Four of the areas are Heritage Fund sites: Becker Lake Wildlife area, Wenima Wildlife area, Sipe Wildlife area, and the Grasslands area. The fifth is the Springerville Marsh Wildlife area.

Employees of Game and Fish held a public meeting March 6 at the Eagar Town Hall for a property management review and to encourage the public to comment on the next six years of operation in the five areas.

Arizona Heritage Alliance named 2011 Conservation Organization of the Year by Arizona Game & Fish

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission met on October 14, 2011 to select award recipients for their Annual Commission Awards. The Arizona Heritage Alliance was selected by the Commission to receive the 2011 Conservation Organization of the Year Award for its commitment and efforts in protecting, preserving and enhancing the Arizona Heritage Fund and its objectives.

The award will be presented at the Commission’s Annual Awards Banquet, which will be held on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at the Carefree Resort & Conference Center.

Game and Fish to buy Horseshoe Ranch next to Agua Fria Monument

[Source: Joanna Dodder Nellans, The Daily Courier] – The Arizona Game and Fish Commission has unanimously agreed to buy the Horseshoe Ranch, sealing a deal to keep the 199-acre inholding surrounded by the Agua Fria National Monument in public hands. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management had wanted to buy the ranch ever since the surrounding lands became a BLM monument in 2000, but couldn’t come up with the money to maintain it in the future, explained Monument Manager Rem Hawes. So Game and Fish stepped in with the help of grant and lottery money.

The historic ranch features two homes, bunkhouses, a large barn, storage buildings, ancient rock art and a half-mile of the Agua Fria River in southeastern Yavapai County. “This is a significant riparian corridor,” said Angie Lohse, land and water program manager for Game and Fish. The agency plans to use the ranch for outdoor and wildlife educational activities, she said, much like way it uses its Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area near Springerville [to read the full article click here].

The Game & Fish Heritage Fund: What its loss will mean to Arizona

On January 15, 2010, the Governor’s office released a budget plan that proposes to permanently eliminate the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s voter-approved $10 million Heritage Fund and redirect all Arizona State Lottery revenue to the state’s general fund.  That proposal has been sent for consideration by the Legislature.

Adoption of this proposal could have significant impacts on Arizona’s land use and growth that will be vital for the state’s economic recovery, as well as affecting outdoor recreationists and the future well-being of the state’s wildlife.

Arizona Game and Fish is a business-model agency that receives no Arizona tax dollars.  The department acknowledges the difficulties the state faces in addressing the budget situation, but it is critical that the customers who pay the bills in this “user pay, user benefit” model are informed and educated on the potential statewide effects that could result from a permanent elimination of Heritage funding.  Those effects potentially include constraints on land use that could affect our state’s economic recovery.

The 45-minute video below is from an informational public presentation and webcast given by the department on Feb. 2 at its Phoenix office.  The presentation covers the history of the Heritage Fund, what it’s used for, how it benefits Arizona, and the impacts to Arizona citizens if the fund is lost.