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Protect Observatory Mesa from Development


Dear Commissioner Hickman,

We are writing on behalf of Habitat Harmony, Inc., to encourage you to approve Coconino County’s request to reclassify State Trust lands (Sections 6, 8, 12, 18, and 19) on Observatory Mesa near Flagstaff as suitable for conservation purposes under the Arizona Preserve Initiative Petition 35-116166. Our group supports this reclassification because it fits with our mission of promoting protection of wildlife habitat and open space in northern Arizona. Protecting these particular parcels also helps secure night-time public viewing and future astronomical research opportunities at Lowell Observatory by limiting proximate light pollution.  

In 1998, the Flagstaff Open Space and Greenways Plan identified state trust (and other) lands on Observatory Mesa as priority areas for retention due to open space and resource values. These particular parcels include diverse landscapes and habitats, which provide year-round habitat and migratory corridors for large mammals including mule deer, elk, mountain lion, black bear, and pronghorn. The habitat may also be suitable for sensitive species such as northern goshawk, Mexican spotted owl, and Gunnison’s prairie dog. Suitable habitat also exists for a diversity of reptiles and amphibians, including plateau fence lizard, tree lizard, greater short-horned lizard, many-lined skink, Madrean alligator lizard, western terrestrial gartersnake, gophersnake, Sonoran mountain kingsnake, Arizona black rattlesnake, boreal chorus frog, Arizona mountain treefrog, and tiger salamander.

We support the petition recently submitted by the City of Flagstaff seeking reclassification of state trust lands at Observatory Mesa for conservation purposes, with subsequent acquisition through the Arizona Preserve and Growing Smarter Initiatives. Habitat Harmony, Inc. urges you to share our commitment to protecting wildlife habitat and open space in Coconino County by permitting this reclassification.


Erika Nowak, PhD and the Board of Habitat Harmony:  
Tish Bogan-Ozmun
Sherry Golden
Bobbe Fitzgibbons
Jean Myers
Emily Nelson
Nate Renn