Take Action! Help Stop the Destruction of Oak Flat

Feb 17, 2021
On February 11, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) invited input from the public regarding the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) on the transfer of the historic Oak Flat campground and the promontory known as Apache Leap. SAA opposes this move. ACHP is requesting comments by February 26, 2021. Please go to our Take Action page to add your voice using our editable template letter to personalize the message and send your views to the Council.


The proposed expansion of the Resolution Copper mine is much in the news. The FEIS concerns the U.S. Forest Service’s (USFS) proposed land swap of the Oak Fat campground and Apache Leap to the mine. From 2009 to 2015, SAA, Native American Tribes, and numerous preservation groups fought against this project, which, if finalized, will result in the destruction of Oak Flat campground; Apache Leap, which is sacred to many Tribes including the San Carlos Apache; and hundreds of National Register-eligible archaeological sites.

Unfortunately, the late Senator McCain included a “land swap” in the 2015 National Defense Authorization bill opening these sites to copper mining. This legislation requires the USFS, no later than 60 days upon the completion of an EIS and issuance of the Record of Decision (ROD), to exchange this sensitive land with Resolution Copper for certain properties in the southwest that the company owns, regardless of the results of the EIS. Resolution Copper has stated that it will take precautions to protect Oak Flat and Apache Leap, but the firm is in fact partially owned by Rio Tinto, the global mining conglomerate that deliberately destroyed the Juu’kan Gorge site in Australia, a group of rockshelters that date back to 46,000 years ago and is sacred to Aboriginal peoples there.

In the final weeks of his administration, President Trump had the USFS fast-track the completion of the EIS. The agency announced the Draft ROD on January 15, and now the clock is ticking on this land exchange.
According to the USFS, groups that can comment on the FEIS are limited to those who previously submitted specific written comments regarding the proposed project during scoping or other designated opportunity for public. The ACHP is one of those groups. Please go to our Take Action portal for one of the last few remaining opportunities to tell the USFS why endangering these sites is so short-sighted.