Who are The Friends of Madera Canyon?
By Ellen West
In the 1930’s, the Civilian Conservation Corps built many recreation facilities in Madera Canyon. The Forest Service (USFS) expanded on these areas until budget cuts threatened to close the Canyon to public use. In the early years, Madera Canyon had very little supervision and the area was strewn with abandoned cars and trash. When word went out in April of 1986 that the Canyon would be closed, Green Valley residents met with Forest Service personnel and developed a partnership, the Friends Of Madera Canyon (FOMC), to help “preserve and protect” the Canyon.
Through cooperative effort with the Forest Service, FOMC has contributed thousands of volunteer hours, and over a million dollars to guarantee improvements throughout the Canyon. Trail development, restrooms, picnic sites and grills, bear-proof trash bins, trail signs and maintenance, preservation of Kent Springs, construction of a ramada, construction of new bridges, clean-up crews, educational programs, and the Bud Gode Interpretive Nature Trail are a few of our projects.
In 2010, volunteers reported 36,358 miles and over 5,000 hours in service for Madera Canyon. Larry Pratt, Developed Recreation Project Manager for the Coronado National Forest, says: “Without the enthusiastic partnership of the Friends, the high quality of recreation and educational opportunities offered at Madera Canyon would not be possible.” Our supporters, members, and lovers of nature understand that Madera Canyon and the surrounding desert floor is a link, a “life zone” for many diverse habitats, and is world-famous for it’s flora and fauna and unusual bird life and species.
Over the years, our supporters have grown, but pressure and use of the Canyon amenities has grown even greater, increasing our responsibility to fulfill our mission of “Preserve and Protect.”
In this short article it is impossible to adequately expand on the role we play, and continue to play on the Canyon’s beautiful development over the years. Our membership dollars go 100% to programs and projects within the Canyon. Through coordination with the USFS, the State Legislature and its Representatives, we have helped to develop all of the amenities visitors enjoy while in the Canyon. The Green Valley Hiking club and the area Boy Scouts have also worked hard to make your Canyon experience one you will appreciate.
Our hope is that with membership support, yearly donations, and our volunteer work force, we can continue to make a difference. We encourage those of you that would like to join us go to our website.
Whether a permanent resident or a visiting wildlife enthusiast who has hiked the Canyon, or just sat in the many nooks along the trail, we are all thankful to have such a place to “get away” from city life. We need you -- Consider being a Friend of Madera Canyon!
The Friends of Madera Canyon is a non-profit volunteer organization based in Green Valley. If you are interested in joining as a member, giving a donation, or want more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or write us at PO Box 1203, Green Valley, AZ 85622.