USDA Forest Service
Pacific Southwest Regional Office
1323 Club Drive
Vallejo CA 94592.
Thursday August 25, 2011
To Randy Moore, Pacific Southwest Regional Forester,
Desecration of Holy San Francisco Peaks must stop now!
Please find enclosed a copy of a letter being submitted to your colleague Corbin Newman,
Southwest Regional Forester. We ask that you follow up with him on this issue as a matter
of urgency, and see that the Arizona Snowbowl development is immediately halted, so that
further desecration and environmental destruction is prevented.
The San Francisco Peaks, in Northern Arizona, are Holy to more than 13 Indigenous
Nations. They are a place of worship, where deities reside, offerings are made, herbs are
gathered, and many sacred ceremonies take place.
Today marks the third month since owners of Arizona Snowbowl, with the support of the
U.S. Forest Service and the Flagstaff City Council, began work on the planned expansion
of a private ski area. In 2005, the Southwestern Regional Forest Service permitted the
development despite widespread Tribal and public opposition. So far, this has enabled
them to lay over five miles of a 14.8 mile wastewater pipeline and clearcut over 40 acres of
rare alpine forest on the San Francisco Peaks, less than half of the project. The expansion
includes a controversial plan to use treated sewage water for snowmaking. We demand that
you end this desecration and ecocide.
The US Department of Agriculture, which includes the Forest Service, is currently engaging
in a consultation about sacred sites, a draft report can be found at, http://www.fs.fed.us/
spf/tribalrelations/sacredsites. As your constituents we would like to see you work for
change within the Forestry Service, that includes observing Article 12 of the United Nations
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which says ‘ Indigenous peoples have
the right to manifest, practise, develop and teach their spiritual and religious
traditions, customs and ceremonies; the right to maintain, protect, and have
access in privacy to their religious and cultural sites;’. The US Forest Service must
practice better land management, that includes respecting the rights of Indigenous Nations,
real and effective public and tribal consultation, and accountability when this does not
‘Caring for the land and serving people’ is the motto of the US Forest Service,
but the desecration of the Holy San Francisco Peaks does neither. We ask that
you forward the enclosed letter to Mr Newman and urge him to immediately stop the
desecration of this sacred mountain.
Protect the Peaks Solidarity Working Group