By Thomas F. Purdon, MD
The Friends of Madera Canyon has in its mission statement to” assist the U.S. Forest Service in advancing historical, scientific, educational, and interpretive programs in Madera Canyon.” Our goals are to: heighten public interest in conservation through education and assist the U.S. Forest Service in their operations. Core values of our organization are to educate the public on the beauty and wonders of this world famous and unique ecosystem, as well as to encourage young and old alike to embrace and conserve this unique area.
We achieve our goals in a variety of ways, such as: conducting nature hikes on the many nature paths and hiking trails, offering docent training classes for people who wish to lead small groups and classes in the Canyon, helping the U.S. Forest Service with renovation and building projects, providing educational tours for school children, and even taking a program to the schools when they cannot come up to the Canyon, staffing the Visitor’s information Center, and providing speakers for interested organizations in the area. These are significant areas of opportunity for new members who love the outdoors and want to make a contribution to the education and preservation of our wonderful natural resource.
Another important aspect of helping to maintain and protect this natural wonder that may not be as visible to the average citizen, is the participation of Friends of Madera Canyon in the activities and work of several other organizations in the area that have similar missions and goals. Members of the Friends participate on a regular basis with organizations such as the Save the Scenic Santa Ritas group, the Sky Island Alliance, the Green Valley Hiking Club, the Coronado Planning Partnership, the Tucson Audubon Society, the Friends of the Santa Cruz River, and other groups interested in the conservation and protection of our natural wonders for the enjoyment of all.
Several examples of the cooperation and activities may be of interest. In several areas we work in partnership with the Green Valley Hiking Club. The hiking club offers valuable volunteer assistance to the Friends for our efforts in maintaining the Canyon trails for all to enjoy.
We also work closely with the Save the Scenic Santa Ritas group to help protect this beautiful area in the Coronado National Forest from destruction from open pit mining. We are concerned that should such activities be permitted, the beauty of the area and the natural ecosystem could be forever irreparably destroyed. Conserving, protecting, and educating the public are common goals of many of the organizations we partner with. Madera Canyon and the Santa Rita Mountain area is a world famous natural treasure and we must all do our parts to preserve it for future generations.