Help Grand Canyon National Park Celebrate Earth Day

Kip Marie Photography | Grand Canyon

The annual Earth Day celebration at the Grand Canyon is coming up next month — and park officials are looking for businesses and organizations that want to participate.

Grand Canyon National Park will host the celebration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 22, at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center Plaza. The event's activities will focuse on waste reduction and finding ways to reduce, reuse and recycle to protect the environment, the park said in a news release.

Organizers say they're looking for 10 to 12 organizations or businesses from outside the park to participate in the event. Applicants must fill out and submit an information sheet that will be reviewed by the park's Green Team, which then will make final selections and notify applicants.

The deadline to apply is Friday, March 17, so get on it if you'd like to be a part of the event. For more information about the Earth Day celebration, contact Green Team member Kim Park at 928-638-7329 or [email protected].

0 Comments Add Comment

National Forest District Works to Engage Young People

Members of the Youth Conservation Corps work on a Coronado National Forest project. | Courtesy of Coronado National Forest

A district of the Coronado National Forest in Southern Arizona is partnering with youth organizations to help young people create a connection to the forest.

The Safford Ranger District offers opportunities for teenagers and young adults (ages 14 to 25) to perform work on the forest and earn money for their club or organization. Each club receives $50 for every eight hours worked, driving time included, the national forest says.

Work performed includes construction of erosion-control dams, hauling and stacking wood, cleaning campgrounds and fire rings, and maintaining trails.

As of last week, the ranger district still had more than 100 participant slots available for this fiscal year, which ends September 30. There will be more funding for additional participants once the new fiscal year begins, the district says.

Clubs and organizations seeking to participate in a forest project should contact Safford District Ranger Kent Ellett at 928-348-1974 or email him at [email protected].

0 Comments Add Comment

On April 5, Consider Helping Arizona's Nonprofits

Grand Canyon | Tom Cuffari

April 5 is Arizona Gives Day, an annual event that began in 2013. Don't know what Arizona Gives Day is? Apparently, you're not alone.

Last year, the event, which aims to provide much-needed funding to the state's nonprofit organizations, raised $2 million. But given that 537 nonprofits participated in the event — and given that Arizona has a population of nearly 7 million — we can do better. (Similar events last year in Colorado and Minnesota raised $28 million and $18 million, respectively.)

This year, more than 900 Arizona nonprofits are participating, and organizers have set a goal of $3 million in donations through the Arizona Gives Day website. That would be a new record for the event, which has raised a total of $4.5 million since its inception.

We at Arizona Highways have many nonprofits near and dear to our hearts, but we won't try to influence your decision. Visit the site and find a cause that inspires you. And remember that every dollar helps.

To learn more, you can also follow Arizona Gives Day on Facebook.

0 Comments Add Comment

Volunteers Aid Home Renovation for Navajo Code Talker

Volunteers from APS' Native American Networking Organization helped with renovations on Dan Akee's Tuba City house. | Courtesy of Red Feather

A while back, we told you about Dan Akee, a 94-year-old Navajo Code Talker who's unable to live in his dilapidated Tuba City home. Last month, a team of volunteers from Arizona Public Service Co. spent a day making needed improvements to the home.

Red Feather, the organization heading up renovation efforts, said in a news release that the volunteers installed insulation and drywall, and taped the home's rooms for painting and finishing later.

APS also has weatherized the home, adding double-paned windows and other improvements. Red Feather is still seeking donations for further improvements, including materials to build a wheelchair ramp for the house. The ramp was designed by woodworking students at Tuba City High School, who hope to build it as well, Red Feather said.

To contribute to the project, you can visit Akee's page or the Red Feather website.

One Comment Add Comment

Next Month, You Could Become a Proud Desert Tortoise Owner

Desert tortoises make great pets, and the Arizona Game and Fish Department has more than 40 of them to adopt out to homes in the Phoenix, Yuma and Prescott areas, the department announced last week.

Game and Fish's Tortoise Adoption Program is aiming to find homes for the animals before they go into hibernation this fall. The animals will be available to pre-approved families at an event early next month and by appointment thereafter, until October 1.

But not just any home will do: Your yard has to have an enclosed area free from potential hazards, such as a dog or a pool. That area must also have a shelter or shade for the tortoise to get out of the heat.

If you're interested and want to get pre-approved, you can download an application at When you submit your application, you'll have to provide photos of your yard and shelter.

The adoption program is necessary because of excessive backyard breeding, Game and Fish said in a news release. The animals can live for up to 100 years, and they eat plant material, including grasses and wildflowers. Once adopted, they can't be released back into the wild because of the risk of passing on diseases.

Photo courtesy of Arizona Game and Fish Department

0 Comments Add Comment

An Open Letter to Congress

August 12, 2015

Dear Senators Flake and McCain; Congressmen Franks, Gallego, Gosar, Grijalva, Salmon and Schweikert; and Congresswomen Kirkpatrick, McSally and Sinema:

For 90 years, Arizona Highways has celebrated the beauty of our state, and so much of that coverage has been from our wild places — the forests, rivers, lakes, deserts and canyons that cut across our landscape and provide the geographical and biological diversity that makes Arizona one of the most incredible states in the country.

But we're afraid.

With greater and greater frequency, we see threats to our public lands and wild spaces — the proposed development of the Grand Canyon, the mining of sacred spaces and, with the U.S. Forest Service’s recent announcement about roundup plans for the wild horses of the Salt River, the removal of wild, free, peaceful animals from their rightful range.

There are more threats, epidemic threats.

Just as so many of Arizona’s citizens have in the past week, Arizona Highways implores the Forest Service and you, our representatives, to be the stewards of the land that you are charged by duty to be. That means being stewards of the wild horses that roam the Tonto National Forest along the Salt River. Please hear the voices of the people who have joined the movement to protect these iconic Arizona animals and work with experts to devise a comprehensive, humane management plan for the Salt River horses.

You have a chance to halt the epidemic. Protect Arizona’s wild spaces by protecting the wild things in them.

Please listen to the people of Arizona so they and generations after them will have something left — a wild space where their own wild hearts, minds and spirits can go to run.


The editorial staff of Arizona Highways magazine

68 Comments Add Comment

Resort Company Launches Donation Campaign for National Parks

The company that operates the North Rim's Grand Canyon Lodge — and many other accommodations in and around America's national parks — is hoping a new initiative will spur guests to help fund park improvements.

Forever Resorts' "Find Your Park: One Night, One Dollar" campaign encourages guests at properties in and adjacent to national parks to earmark $1 per night for nonprofit organizations. The campaign will run through 2016, when the National Park Service celebrates its centennial.

The company said in a statement that the campaign could raise as much as $175,000 for organizations that support national parks.

Other Forever Resorts properties in Arizona are Mormon Lake Lodge and Temple Bar Resort. In neighboring states, notable resorts include Rocky Mountain Park Inn in Estes Park, Colorado, and the Lodge at Bryce Canyon in Utah.

Photo: Grand Canyon Lodge, North Rim | Courtesy of Forever Resorts

0 Comments Add Comment

Southern Arizona Native-Seeds Farm Seeking Summer Interns

A Southern Arizona native-seeds farm we featured last year in Arizona Highways, is looking for two interns to work and study at the farm this summer. From a Native Seeds/SEARCH press release:

Native Seeds/SEARCH (NS/S) is seeking applicants for its internship program in crop genetic resources conservation. The emphasis of this program is in training individuals who are positioned to directly implement what they learn from their internship experience within Native American communities in the Southwest. Upon completion of the program, interns will be armed with hands-on experience and tools necessary to implement and strengthen regional seed-conservation efforts in Native communities. NS/S has always recognized the critical importance of Native agriculture and initiated this internship program to help build capacity in Native communities for their own food security and sovereignty. NS/S' hope is that the interns work to establish and strengthen seed banks or other crop-conservation efforts within their own community upon completing the program.

The 29-week internships will be full-time, paid (40 hour per week) positions with benefits from May 4 to November 20, 2015. Interns should reside in the Tucson, Arizona, area for the duration of the program, but there will be transportation with other NS/S staff to our Conservation Farm in Patagonia, Arizona. Housing is not provided. Two internships are available.

Application deadline is Sunday April 19, 2015.

To learn more about the internships or to apply, click here. To learn more about Native Seeds/SEARCH, read It's a Dirty Job, but Somebody Has to Do It, Kathy Montgomery's story on the farm that appeared in our March 2014 issue.

Photo courtesy of Native Seeds/SEARCH

0 Comments Add Comment

Nonprofit Group Helps At-Risk Youths Through Photography

Photographer Karen Shell, a frequent Arizona Highways contributor, is the founder and executive director of Kids in Focus, a nonprofit organization where professional photographers mentor at-risk Arizona youths. The group's 2015 exhibition is coming up, and we hope you'll find time to attend.

The 22 students, ages 12 to 14, all receive point-and-shoot digital cameras and make photos on weekly field trips and on their own. Along the way, Shell and 11 other volunteer photographers provide lessons, tools, ideas and feedback.

"It makes me incredibly happy to see the kids and the mentors connecting with each other," Shell says in a news release. "I'm amazed at the amount of talent the mentors bring to this project and am deeply moved by the amount of heart they share with the kids. There is nothing more rewarding than watching the kids light up."

The culmination of the nine-week Kids in Focus project is a 50-print exhibit at Burton Barr Central Library (1221 N. Central Avenue) in Phoenix. The exhibit's opening reception is March 6, and the exhibit will run through April 19. Both the reception and the exhibit are open to the public.

At the opening reception, each of the youths will receive a hardbound book of the project. Following the exhibit, select images will be displayed at the Children's Museum of Phoenix this summer.

For more information about Kids in Focus, visit

Photo: Kids in Focus participants check out their photos. | Jill Richards

0 Comments Add Comment

Help Arizona Game and Fish Catch Elk Poachers

From our friends at the Arizona Game and Fish Department:

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is investigating two unrelated bull elk poaching incidents that occurred in northern Arizona during the last week of August. The cases are especially significant because both elk were taken out of season, and rewards may be offered for information leading to arrests.

One poaching incident took place in Game Management Unit 5BSouth on the Coconino National Forest. The carcass of a 5X6 bull elk was discovered on Aug. 29 off Forest Service Road 136 near “the park,” about 3 miles northeast of Clint’s Well near milepost 294 on Highway 87. The poachers shot the animal with a firearm, took the meat, and left the antlers. This is a case of wildlife taken out of season, and it shows blatant disregard for wildlife management practices biologists have established to make hunting available to the public. A reward of up to $750.00 may be available for information leading to the arrest of the violator(s).

The second case involved a spike (young bull) elk poached in Game Management Unit 11M. The elk was killed about 1 mile southwest of Ft. Tuthill near the Coconino County Fairgrounds, in the afternoon Aug. 27 or in the morning of Aug. 28. The bull was shot twice with archery equipment and the entire animal was left to waste. A reward of up to $350.00 may be available for information leading to the arrest of the violator(s).

Officers investigating the cases have very limited evidence or information and are relying on the public to help find the poachers.

“Someone may have information about these cases and we need them to come forward,” said Game and Fish said Wildlife Manager Mike Rice. “Sportsmen and women pay for licenses and tags and contribute to wildlife conservation and management, but poachers do not. Poaching isn’t hunting, it’s stealing Arizona’s valuable wildlife resources.”

Anyone with information about the cases can call the Department’s Operation Game Thief Hotline toll free at (800) 352-0700 or use the online form at Callers should provide case number 14-002441 for the Unit 5BS case, and 14-002414 for the Unit 11M case when calling.  Callers may remain confidential upon request.

0 Comments Add Comment