I challenge a basic premise of the Sedona-Red Rock National Scenic Area (NSA) proposal by Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, that it should include all the area within the Coconino National Forest Plan Amendment 12. In addition, her draft legislation and map do not acknowledge the Beaver Creek, Big Park, Cornville and Red Rock-Dry Creek planning areas, which all overlap the proposed NSA/Amendment 12 boundary.
1. How big should a Sedona-Red Rock National Scenic Area be anyway? The Forest Service has adequate legal authority to manage its land without NSA designation; but if there must be an NSA, its area should be clearly defined and minimized to include red rocks within and adjacent to the City of Sedona, not large areas miles away.
2. Should the NSA match the Amendment 12 Boundary? No! The western portion of Amendment 12 area covers lands that are neither in Sedona nor include red rocks. Since the NSA would permanently remove more land from multiple-use management, its boundaries should be reconsidered in light of NSA (not Amendment 12) goals.
3. Shouldn't surrounding communities have a say on boundary placement? Yes! The NSA boundary should be accurately disclosed to the public in relation to surrounding communities. Communities around the edges need to be aware of boundary overlaps and have the opportunity to decide whether it is in their best interest to support a NSA.
Proponents proudly claim that the NSA will restrict land exchanges, but it will also add an unnecessary layer of authority that could have unforeseen effects in the long-term future. That will certainly be true if the NSA is not clearly defined in terms of area and scope and if neighboring communities are not included in the legislative process.
Former Chair, Cornville Community Plan Committee & U.S. Forest Service Retiree