The Arizona Monument May Soon Be Our Newest National Park
It's hard to believe our National Park Service is just a little over 100 years old. President Theodore Roosevelt was a well-known and respected outdoorsman and lover of nature, so it's no surprise he sought to protect some of the resplendent beauty of the United States.
According to the National Park Service, Roosevelt, who garnered the moniker, The Conservation President, established legislation far beyond his presidency. Beginning in 1901 to 1909, he signed legislation establishing five new national parks.
He didn't stop there. In 1906 Roosevelt added four national monuments, including two in Arizona. Montezuma Castle and the Petrified Forest. By 1908 he had established protections for much of the Grand Canyon, making it a national monument in 1908.
Chiricahua National Monument
One can only imagine what Teddy would have thought of Chiricahua National Monument. The Chiricahuas, as they're called locally, are a natural wonder in Southeastern Arizona, known for their spectacular rock formations and rich biodiversity.
Chiricahua National Monument was established in 1924 by President Calvin Coolidge to protect the area's unique landscape and cultural heritage.
Legislation has been introduced to make this Arizona's fourth national park, just like Arizona's Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, and Saguaro parks.
Redesignation to a National Park
The bill to redesignate Chiricahua from a monument to a national park was introduced by US Senators Mark Kelly and Krysten Sinema. The bill passed the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
According to Wikipedia, "In 2022, the US Senate passed...[a bill] to redesignate the [Chiricahua] monument as a national park. The bill did not make it out of committee in the House."
In early 2023, the House and Senate again introduced identical bills to make the Monument a Park. The 2023 bills have not yet been voted on."
Redesignating this beautiful monument as a national park would potentially boost tourism and economic development in our area. It would also attract more visitors from around the world who will stand in the heart of this hidden Arizona gem.