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Tribes, conservationists back Grijalva's Great Bend of the Gila Conservation Act

Coverage of tribal natural resources is supported in part by Catena Foundation

For thousands of years, tribes living in what is now the Southwestern United States gathered at the Gila River.

They left a legacy that conservationists would like to preserve, and Congressman Raul Grijalva has introduced legislation that could make that a reality.

The Great Bend of the Gila Conservation Act would preserve thousands of acres of culturally significant lands southwest of Phoenix.

At least 13 tribes say they have ties to the area, which has countless petroglyphs and paintings.

The bill will enhance protection for archeological resources and establish nearly 60,000 acres of new wilderness.

The legislation has the support of several tribes and conservation groups.

Ron Dungan has lived in Arizona for more than 35 years. He has worked as a reporter, construction worker, copy editor, designer and freelance writer. He's a graduate of the University of Iowa, where he was a member of the undergraduate Writers’ Workshop, and has a master’s in history from Arizona State University.Dungan was an outdoors reporter and member of the storyteller team at the Arizona Republic, where he won several awards, and was a contributor on a border project that won the 2018 Pulitzer for explanatory reporting.When not working, Dungan enjoys books, gardening, hanging out with his German shorthaired pointer, backpacking and fly-fishing. He's a fan of the Arizona Cardinals and Iowa Hawkeyes.