Arizona Trail Association Sends Out Public S.O.S To Help Stop Border Wall Construction Near Southern Trailhead

Tucson Weekly (May 8, 2020) by Austin Counts

The Arizona Trail Association is hoping the community will voice concern to help to stop construction of the border barriers near its southern trailhead through the Huachuca Mountains in Cochise County.

And fast: The deadline is May 15.

Customs and Border Protection officials announced plans to continue a 30-foot steel barrier across the Huachuca Mountain landscape on March 17, as a part of 74-miles of future border barrier projects scheduled throughout Pima, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties.

Arizona Trail Association Executive Director Matthew Nelson is urging the public to voice their concern over the project while the CBP continues to accept public comments via email until May 15. The ATA’s beef with the project is how the scenic view will be disturbed, which was the reason why that spot was chosen as the trailhead 30-plus-years prior.

“The southern terminus of the Arizona National Scenic Trail is one of the most significant locations along the entire 800-mile trail,” Nelson said. “This is where the Arizona Trail begins, and where the dream of the Arizona Trail was born over 30 years ago. ”

In addition to the 30-foot-tall steel barriers, the proposed project includes the installation of a linear ground detection system, road construction, and the installation of lighting, which will be supported by grid power and embedded cameras. Nelson said if the project continues, it will be another law of dozens discarded to allow border construction over the past decade.

“When Congress designated the Arizona Trail a National Scenic Trail in 2009, it was supposed to be protected in perpetuity from these types of impacts,” said Nelson. “If this project moves forward, the National Trails System Act will be the 42nd law waived to allow construction of the wall, along with the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, and Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, to name just a few.”

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