Peaceful Gila Skies
Stop Expansion of Military Pilot Training Above the Gila Wilderness
Air Force Proposes to Create Low-Level Supersonic Airspace Across Southeast Arizona/Southwest New Mexico
The U.S. Air Force wants to modify 10 existing Military Operations Areas (MOAs) that stretch across southern Arizona into southwest New Mexico as part of a plan for expansion of Special Use Airspace in the southwest region of the country. The proposal will authorize low-level fighter jet maneuvers and supersonic flights that cause sonic booms above rural and tribal communities, some of the Southwest’s most fragile sky-island ecosystems, and beloved wilderness areas and national monuments.
Federal public lands that could be affected by the Air Force proposal include four National Forests (Gila, Apache-Sit greaves, Tonto, Coronado), 12 US Forest Service Wilderness Areas; 19 Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wilderness Areas, 8 BLM Wilderness Study Areas, 28 BLM Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC), 4 BLM Research Natural Areas (RNA); 1 BLM Riparian National Conservation Area (Gila Box); 4 National Wildlife Refuges (Buenos Aires, Leslie Canyon, San Bernardino, and Bill Williams River) and 2 National Monuments (Chiricahua National Monument and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument). Additionally, 70 miles of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail could be affected.
A full Draft Environmental Impact Statement is due out in the Fall of 2023. Updates on the proposal coming soon!