Tuesday, January 08, 2008

You remember the San Pedro

You remember driving up out of the Santa Cruz valley from Nogales through hills and then up over a wide country of wineries where you exclaim "oh I didn't know Arizona could be like this!" We hike along the Babocomari river under the trees and watch the Great Horned Owls. The Rincons, the Mustang and Whetstone, the Burro, the Huachuca, the Canelo hills, and the Santa Ritas and Empire Mountains are all arrayed round about; the town of Elgin, the sun and the full moon and the purple-tinged shadow of the Earth.

But what you don't know is that if you follow the river you meander around the Mustang mountains and leave them standing still behind you like some kind of massive eroded stonehenge....and then you enter a great valley with cities and people and mountains all around. This is one of the last great river-valleys before the continental divide, one of the last surviving Arizona rivers, the San Pedro.

But this green ribbon snaking through an ocean of desert scrub and cactus is already dead. The aquafer has been drained and it is only a matter of time before this valley, like its neighbors, becomes dust and bones. "Man's ego is going to fill his pockets, and the river be damned." (ibid)

For more information and maps (though not a solution to the problem) see the Upper San Pedro Partnership

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