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Exec. Director / President - Ron Sites

Article by Ron Sites, President and Executive Director of Fighter Country Partnership.

The Sonoran Desert Heritage draft proposal for protecting public lands in western Maricopa County is not simply a conservation effort. It is supported by a broad cross-section of homegrown Arizona public and private interests for a variety of environmental and economic reasons.

Fighter Country Partnership is proud to support the Sonoran Desert Heritage conservation plan because its passage will further protect Luke Air Force Base and its $2.1 billion annual economic impact to our community.

The Sonoran Desert Heritage conservation proposal will protect and maintain the necessary open spaces over which missions are conducted, thereby preserving the vital air corridors necessary for flight operations at Luke. This protection is more critical now than ever because Luke is the preferred alternative for training pilots of the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Proactive conservation of this landscape also helps safeguard wildlife species outside of Arizona’s military bases and the Barry M. Goldwater Range, thereby reducing the risk to these species concerned and the financial burden of managing them.

Over the course of more than five years, local organizers for this effort have been reaching out to communities in the West Valley to find partners to help shape this draft proposal into a well-vetted measure to be introduced in Congress. Fighter Country Partnership was one of several stakeholder groups that recently met with our congressional delegation in Washington to support the draft conservation proposal. Other supporters include West Valley churches, like the Avondale Church of God; energy companies such as Abengoa Solar Inc. and NextEra Energy Resources LLC; wildlife and outdoor groups such as the Arizona Wildlife Federation, Arizona State Horsemen’s Association, and Friends of Saddle Mountain; and companies like DMB Associates., and Sunbelt Holdings, residential developers of Verrado and Douglas Ranch, respectively.

Fighter Country Partnership is proud to be part of this collaborative, transparent process to protect Arizona’s heritage.

Post updated 6 Feb 2020

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