Chair Grijalva Introduces Bills to Expand Saguaro National Park, Allow Land Exchange to Support University of Arizona and U.S. Forest Service

Washington, D.C. – Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today introduced two bills to support national parks and public education in Arizona.

The Saguaro National Park Boundary Expansion and Study Act, available online at https://bit.ly/3gXuDCK, adds 1,150 total acres to the eastern and western portions of the beloved national park. The expansions protect wildlife habitats, improve trail access and better connect the park with nearby state and local public lands.

The bill also authorizes a study to identify future potential park expansions, ensuring continued protection of unique Sonoran Desert habitats in the greater Tucson area. Chair Grijalva has led the effort to expand Saguaro National Park since 2007.

The other bill introduced today, which does not yet have an official bill number, authorizes a land exchange between the University of Arizona’s Board of Regents and the U.S. Forest Service. The exchange would provide the University ownership of 13.3 acres near its Arizona Experiment Station, allowing the school to build and upgrade facilities, including dorms and classrooms, to support the recently accredited College of Veterinary Medicine. In exchange, the University would transfer a portion of a nearby 43-acre site, appraised at equal value, to Coconino National Forest.

That bill is available online at https://bit.ly/3eQfCAV. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) sponsor companion legislation in the Senate.

“Improving public lands and educational access doesn’t have to be controversial, and my colleagues have every reason to support these straightforward bills,” Grijalva said. “Protecting a beloved national park and supporting the University are all upside for our community, especially as we prepare for climate-driven droughts and wildfires that we know will impact our public lands and the people who depend on them. My Committee will consider these bills quickly, and I have every hope they’ll move swiftly through Congress.”

Statements of Support

“The V-V Ranch has long been a valuable research and extension site promoting best practices in Western cattle ranching for the University of Arizona and the surrounding community. Moreover, the Ranch will be a key component of the University’s College of Veterinary Medicine program to allow unique, hands-on training in large animal medicine for future veterinarians. On behalf of the University of Arizona, I thank Chairman Grijalva for introducing this important legislation that will enable the University to continue to accomplish its mission to teach, conduct relevant research, and provide extension services to the communities we serve in the Great State of Arizona.” -President Robert C. Robbins, The University of Arizona


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