National monument proposal gets cold shoulder from many in Arizona

KINGMAN - The proposed Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument has caused quite a stir with sportsmen and others since it was revealed in late February, drawing opposition from the Mohave County Board of Supervisors and others.

A number of environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, Center For Biological Diversity and the Grand Canyon Wildlands Council, asked three of Arizona's congressmen, Ann Kirkpatrick, Raul Grijalva and Rueben Gallegos - all Democrats - to send a letter to President Obama seeking to designate 1.7 million acres of lands both north and south of the Grand Canyon as a national monument.

Areas that were proposed for monument designation included game management units 9, 12, and part of 13A.

These are some of the undisputed best areas in the state for hunters who pursue mule deer, elk, buffalo, turkey, antelope and desert bighorn sheep.

While sportsmen were outraged at this backdoor attempt to add another layer of bureaucracy on public lands, elected officials in many communities were outraged that they had not been consulted before this request was made by the House Democrats.

Officials from Fredonia, Tusayan, Williams and Mohave County all attended a meeting hosted by Kirkpatrick in Flagstaff in March, and all opposed the designation.

Federal and state officials who also joined in opposing the designation included Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, state Sen. Kelli Ward and state Rep. Regina Cobb.

Last week, McCain came to Tusayan and met with local elected officials, livestock producers, and sportsman groups to seek input on this proposed monument.

Mohave County Supervisor Gary Watson attended on behalf of the Board of Supervisors and told McCain that they were outraged at this attempt to create a monument, without consulting local elected officials.

"We are the folks who were elected to represent folks in our communities, and yet we were not consulted about this," Watson told McCain.

Watson then presented McCain with a resolution by the Mohave County Board of Supervisors opposing the monument designation.

McCain also received a resolution from the Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation, a group of over 20 of Arizona's conservation organizations, who are opposed to the monument.

A resolution from the Mohave Sportsman Club, the largest outdoor recreational group in Mohave County, was also given to McCain. The local group also opposes the monument designation.