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Bill would turn Chiricahua National Monument into national park in Arizona

A popular national monument in southern Arizona could become a national park under a new bill introduced in Congress. 

Chiricahua National Monument in southeastern Arizona is a prime biodiversity region that draws hikers, bird-watchers, geologists and history buffs. It’s named for the Chiricahua Apaches and known for its delicately balanced hoodoo formations. 

The legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick would recognize the Apaches who were eventually driven from their home there.

Local city officials say the term monument dissuades more tourists from venturing to the area, and they hope a national park designation will change that. A similar bill is sponsored in the U.S. Senate by Arizona’s senators. 

Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.