Study: Increased Protection Would Boost Local Economy, Tourism at Great Bend of the Gila

September 11, 2014 by Tim Mikulski

Gila Bend Chamber of Commerce and the National Trust have announced that a new economic impact study found that protecting the nationally significant cultural and historic resources along the Great Bend of the Gila River would contribute an estimated $1.3 million annually to Arizona’s Maricopa and Yuma Counties through increased tourism.

The BBC Research & Consulting research indicated that a public land designation, such as a national monument, will increase visitation to the area and provide a significant economic boost to the rural area.

U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) introduced the Great Bend of the Gila National Monument Establishment Act (H.R. 1348) in March 2013. The proposed monument runs 75 miles along the river, and includes world-class rock art, archaeological remains of ancestral Hohokam and Patayan cultures, and three historic trails – the Juan Bautista de Anza, Butterfield Stagecoach, and the Mormon Battalion and the site of the westernmost skirmish of the Civil War.

In addition to protecting the sites, a national monument designation would allow for a wide range of uses, including hiking, horseback riding, hunting, backpacking, biking, motorized vehicle use, and scientific research.

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