June 7 is National Trails Day

American Hiking Society’s signature trail awareness program, National Trails Day, inspires the public and trail enthusiasts nationwide to seek out their favorite trails to discover, learn about, and celebrate trails while participating in educational exhibits, trail dedications, gear demonstrations, instructional workshops, and trail work projects.  Click here to learn about events in Arizona and other parts of the U.S.

What are Arizona’s most endangered historic places?

Vintage photo of Adamsville Ruins, listed on 2006 Most Endangered Historic Places List. [Source: Arizona Preservation Foundation] — The Arizona Preservation Foundation is accepting nominations for its 2008 list of Arizona’s Most Endangered Historic Places.   Compiled by preservation professionals and historians, the list identifies critically endangered properties of major historical or archaeological significance to the state.

Properties selected for the Most Endangered Historic Places list will receive the Foundation’s assistance in developing support to remove the threat.

To nominate online and for complete details, click here.  The deadline is June 5, 2008.  Supporting documentation must also be received by the deadline to: Arizona Preservation Foundation, P.O. Box 13492, Phoenix, AZ 85002. Support materials include clippings, correspondence, and photographs.

The Foundation’s 2007 list is comprised of Arizona State University Historic Properties, Tempe; Buckhorn Baths, Mesa; Camp Naco, Naco; Empire Ranch, Las Cienegas National Conservation Area; Glendale Tract Community Center, Glendale; Havasu Hotel, Seligman; Kerr Cultural Center, Scottsdale; Kingman Multiple Resources, Kingman; Maple Ash Neighborhood, Tempe; Marist College, Tucson; Old U.S. 80 Bridge (Gillespie Dam Bridge), Arlington; Sage Memorial Hospital School of Nursing, Ganado; San Ysidro Ranch Ruins, Yuma; Second Pinal County Courthouse, Florence; Valley National Bank, 44th Street & Camelback Road, Phoenix; and White Gates House, Phoenix.

The Foundation’s 2006 list is comprised of the Adamsville Ruins, Coolidge; Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill, Tucson; First Baptist Church, Phoenix; Fisher Memorial Home, Casa Grande; Geronimo Station, Geronimo; Meehan/Gaar House, Casa Grande; Mesa Grande Ruins, Mesa; Mountain View Black Officers Club, Sierra Vista; Peter T. Robertson Residence, Yuma; Southern Pacific Railroad Depot, Casa Grande; and Sun Mercantile Building, Phoenix.

Cultural sites at U.S. forests threatened

[Source: Arizona Daily Sun, Associated Press] — The U.S. Forest Service lacks a clear legal mandate and the financial ability to protect thousands of historic sites and buildings on national forest lands from development, vandalism and other threats, a prominent preservation group says.  The nonprofit National Trust for Historic Preservation released a report Thursday saying only 1,936 of 325,000 Forest Service sites identified as historically or culturally significant are on the National Register of Historic Places.  “We think that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  We think there could be as many as 2 million sites,” trust president Richard Moe said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

At-risk treasures include American Indian pueblos and sacred sites, petroglyphs, Revolutionary and Civil War battlegrounds, trails used by the Lewis and Clark expedition and Forest Service lookout towers.  About 80 percent of the 193 million acres the agency manages in 44 states and Puerto Rico haven’t been surveyed for such sites, according to the Washington, D.C.-based trust.  The National Forest System: Cultural Resources at Risk says the Forest Service, unlike other federal land management agencies, has no statute that specifically mandates historic or archaeological preservation as part of its mission.

Another issue is funding.  Less than 1 percent of the Forest Service’s $4.4 billion budget goes to heritage resource programs, according to the report.  Nearly half its budget is spent on fires, including fire suppression and decreasing wildfire risk.  Threats to historic and cultural sites include off-road vehicle use, oil and gas development in the West, livestock grazing, logging and a resurgence in uranium, gold and other hard-rock mining, Moe said.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Repairing damage from off-highway vehicles no easy task

Nora Avery-Page, Cronkite News Service[Source: Nora Avery-Page, Cronkite News Service] — Surrounded by illegal off-highway vehicle trails, this one patch, with a replanted cactus taking root, marks an effort repair at least some of the desert near Mesa.  Boy Scouts planted the cactus and several others dotting this landscape, and groups representing riders, hikers and others often volunteer to help repair damage off-highway vehicles cause here.  “There’s a lot that can be done, but it takes a lot, lots of funding and manpower,” said Tammy Pike, OHV and trails coordinator for the Tonto National Forest.  “We try to reach out and have as many people help us as we can.”

Tonto sees more than 900,000 visits each year from off-highway vehicle riders, and land managed by the state and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management also is attracting more and more riders as Arizona’s population grows.  The Arizona Game and Fish Department estimates that off-highway vehicle use has more than tripled since 1998.  A bill being considered by the Arizona State Legislature would create a registration fee for off-highway vehicles that would help fund, among other things, projects to repair damaged landscapes.  Damaged areas can be restored if there is sufficient money and effort, officials say, but the scale of the damage makes it makes it virtually impossible to repair everything.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]