By Dan Millis, Grand Canyon Chapter Borderlands Campaign Organizer
[Click on the image above to watch the Borderlands Campaign's new video, Too Many Tracks.]
It's always nice to have friends who can fly.
Arizona's protected natural borderlands have been hammered by a massive security buildup costing billions of taxpayer dollars. Some 650 miles of walls and barriers, most of it erected in the past decade, fragment desert gems like the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
Below left, the border wall at San Pedro; at right, the barrier at Organ Pipe.
Then there are the Border Patrol trucks—thousands of them. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports nearly 8,000 miles of unauthorized roads and vehicle tracks, and that's just on the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge. You might blame cross-border smuggling vehicles for the damage, but you'd be mostly wrong. The number of smuggler vehicles crossing these areas is almost nil thanks to the barriers, but damage from tire tracks, ruts and wildcat roads has increased dramatically.