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Contact: Sue Walter, 520-387-6849 x7301
Ajo, Arizona- Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument sponsored a Wilderness Workshop coordinating with the U.S. Border Patrol who hosted the class at their Ajo Station in Why, AZ. Four local agencies came together for two days of training conducted by the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center from Missoula, Montana on December 1 and 2. The Carhart Center trains agency employees in wilderness stewardship and management principles for the benefit of the National Wilderness Preservation System. The multi-agency staff is composed of all four federal land agencies: Bureau of Land Management, Fish & Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and National Park Service. Instructors Tim Devine from the National Park Service and Karen Lindsey from U.S. Fish & Wildlife led the class with sessions on the history of the Wilderness Act and how managing wilderness on the border is unique. USBP Ajo Station Patrol Agent in Charge Scott Good, Organ Pipe Cactus Superintendent Brent Range, Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge Manager Sid Slone, and Bureau of Land Management Field Manager Ed Kender spoke about relationships and progress the area has made in wilderness preservation and protection. U.S. Border Patrol Tuscon Sector Public Land Liaison Charles Trost II and Ajo Station PLLA James Vance spoke about the 2006 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the guiding document used by the agencies to work within Wilderness on public lands.
The take away message as stated by instructor Tim Devine to the 52 attendees was viewing their responsibilities in a new way. "You should look at how your job impacts wilderness instead of looking at how wilderness impacts your job."
An additional day of training on December 3, led by Steve Archibald, retired Carhart instructor for education was held at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument for those that communicate regularly with the public such as visitor center staff, education outreach staff and public information officers. This day the training focused on the process of identifying a wilderness topic and presentation techniques to specific audiences.
Participants for the three days were from Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Saguaro National Park, Chiricahua National Monument, the Bureau of Land Management, Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and U.S. Border Patrol.
"This training provided everyone with a good understanding of the agencies' missions and what they have in common. The interagency collaboration fosters the accomplishment of shared goals and increases government efficiency. It is a good way to start off the centennial year for the National Park Service in partnership with all agencies managing and working on Wilderness to understand our unified mission of protecting public lands and the Wilderness," said Organ Pipe Cactus Superintendent Brent Range.
U.S.Borer Patrol agents are required to undergo wilderness training as part of their job's requirement. "This training is a natural progression of training to have all agencies sitting together in one room. They are able to reach across the table and say hi," said U.S. Border PLLA Trost.