25 Years of Conservation in the Gila Box
Before the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area in Arizona was created by Congress in 1990, it was possible (and common) for people to drive vehicles in the 20-mile long streambed of Bonita Creek, a key tributary of the Gila River in eastern Arizona.
Twenty five years after its designation, there is such an abundance of riparian plants and so many beaver ponds on Bonita Creek that NCA Manager Tom Schnell told me I’d be hard-pressed to even walk it. On my first visit, the water offered such a clear view of the creek’s five rare native fish species it reminded me of an aquarium.
These improvements are a direct result of the steps BLM’s Safford Field Office has taken to protect this fragile place during a quarter century of careful management by dedicated people. Managing public lands, like a lot of things, is so often about good planning in anticipation of the future.
A trip to the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area is a great chance to see that work in action..
By Adam Milnor, BLM Arizona and My Public Lands Tumblr Blogger