By Douglas Kreutz (The Arizona Daily Star)
Some residents of Southern Arizona have launched a campaign to have Chiricahua National Monument southeast of Willcox redesignated as Chiricahua National Park, and they’re getting support from a member of Congress.
U.S. Rep. Martha McSally says she is planning to introduce legislation to authorize the change, which requires an act of Congress.
Chiricahua Monument — a preserve of 11,985 acres known for its spectacular rock formations, scenic viewpoints and extensive network of trails — would “have no significant changes other than a name change,” said Allen Etheridge, superintendent of the monument. Designation as a national park “wouldn’t change boundaries or increase the budget.”
Bob Gent, a member of the Sierra Vista Tourism Commission and coordinator of the Campaign for Chiricahua National Park, said he and others in Southern Arizona strongly believe that a redesignation is merited.
“Chiricahua National Monument truly is a geologic wonder of the world, and it deserves national park status,” Gent said. “It’s unique in its scenic beauty.”