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Protect Your Natural Heritage: Speak Up for the Sonoran Desert Heritage Act!

Great news! Rep. Raúl Grijalva has introduced the Arizona Sonoran Desert Heritage Act (H.R. 1799) to protect critical tracts of Sonoran Desert lands west of Phoenix. This long-awaited bill will permanently protect roughly 954,600 acres of BLM public land in western Maricopa County with a variety of dynamic designations such as wilderness, national conservation areas, and special management areas. Let's thank Rep. Grijalva for his foresighted legislation! 

A great story on the effort ran in the April 27th edition of the Arizona Republic. 

The Sonoran Desert west of Phoenix boasts some of Arizona's most spectacular landscapes, which also serve as important wildlife and recreation areas, safeguard the viability of Luke Air Force Base and the Barry M. Goldwater Range, and protect environmental and cultural amenities to boost economic opportunities for West Valley cities and towns. This is a win-win piece of legislation and the rest of the Arizona delegation should support it.

Four ways you can help: 

1. Please call OR draft a letter of thanks to Rep. Raúl Grijalva. Hand-written letters are rare these days and get noticed. Click here to email his office, or snail mail it to:

The Honorable Raúl M. Grijalva
Rancho Santa Fe Center
13065 West McDowell Road, Suite C-123
Avondale, AZ 85392

Local Phone: 623-536-3388  DC Phone: 202-225-2435

Copy and email your letters to:

Sonoran Desert Heritage Campaign               
P.O. Box 13524               
Phoenix, AZ  85002

2.  Share this page on Facebook, and be sure to tag Rep. Grijalva (@RepRaulGrijalva)! 

3.  Send letters to the other members of the Arizona congressional delegation.

  • Urge them to acknowledge thebenefits of the legislation to Arizona's tourismand military economy. Arizonans value protected public lands for quality of life and recreational benefits. What do YOU value about the Sonoran Desert?
  • Hand written letters are rare and we encourage you to take a few minutes to do it the old fashioned way for extra impact! 
  • Find your congressional representative's contact information here. 
  • Copy and email your letters to: SonoranDesert Heritage Campaign, PO Box 13524, Phoenix, AZ 85002

4.  Watch the news and send in letters-to-the-editor. This is a powerful way to publicly show support for the legislation.

  • Find guidelines and how to submit to the Arizona Republic here
  • Check the inside cover for editorial guidelines for smaller community newspapers, who are often looking for letters from readers!
  • Make your letters short (200 words) but add personal touches--have you been to these public lands? What did you appreciate about these wild places?

Thank you for your support!  Show Congress that Arizona's want to see real solutions to the problems of natural resource degradation and the problems it causes for our communities and the local economy.  Your voice is important and will heard.  Thanks!

Need a Few Writing Tips?

Since you are writing to your Congressman it’s smart to write your letter in a businesslike format and to be respectful in tone.  In addition to being a formal letter, it’s also your opportunity for you voice to be heard!  Highlight why you want to see Sonoran Desert Heritage become reality and feel free to mention what matters most to you!  

We suggest you address your letter to “The Arizona Delegation” and include your address and other contact information in your signature.  A few additional format tips include:

  • First paragraph: State who you are and why you are writing.
  • Second paragraph (and possibly third and fourth) paragraph(s): Your reasons for supporting Sonoran Desert Heritage.  For example: ensuring viability of nearby military facilities, protecting areas you hike, bike, horseback ride, or ride your OHV in, etc.
  • Final paragraph: Conclude your letter.  It’s a good idea to restate why you are writing and to thank them for considering your letter.

Model Letter

April 4, 2012

Dear Arizona Delegation:

I have lived in Goodyear, Arizona my entire life and am writing to urge you to support the Sonoran Desert Heritage proposal.

My family and I love Arizona’s rugged landscape.  We have hiked for years through the Belmont Mountains and around Saddle Mountain. I also enjoy riding my OHV on weekends through the 4th of July wash and nearby trails in Western Maricopa County.  My family and I value these public lands because we use them to escape our busy lives and enjoy the desert.

I also support this proposal because it seeks a balance between development and conservation.  This proposal seeks to protect the ecological integrity of the West Valley desert and protect wildlife corridors.  It seeks to protect valuable archeological areas, such as Sears Point.  At the same time Sonoran Desert Heritage seeks to protect the long-term viability of Arizona’s military facilities by protecting flight corridors.  It helps guide renewable energy development away from high-conflict areas, and it provides a framework for the West Valley to cultivate and grow their recreation economy.  This proposal protects more than our natural and cultural heritage- it also protects our economy.

In conclusion, I have watched Valley communities grow to astounding sizes, and know that more growth is to come.  I view the Sonoran Desert Heritage proposal as the best way to protect our valuable public lands, while protecting some of the areas significant economic drivers.  I hope the wonders that this region has today will remain so that I may one day share them with my grandchildren.  Thank you for taking the time to consider my viewpoint.  Please support Sonoran Desert Heritage.


B. Boop

123 Alphabet Ln.
Goodyear, AZ 12345

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