The Mogollon Wildway:
Taking A Big Step Toward Half Earth!
Low oblique aerial view of a morning thunderstorm over the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness northwest of Sedona, Arizona. Mingus Mountain is visible on the left horizon. Photo (C) Adriel Heisey
The Mogollon Rim is a vast area of mountains, rivers, and forests sweeping west and north from the Gila Wilderness in southwest New Mexico to Grand Canyon National Park in northern Arizona. It is a bold but achievable vision for connecting and protecting wild places. It is a promise to give diverse plants and animals the space they need to survive and thrive. It is essential habitat for the reintroduced population of Mexican Wolves (Lobos) and for a restored future population of Jaguars.
Listen to the Rewilding Earth Podcast Episode 84: John Davis Introduces the Mogollon Wildway Campaign
How you can help The Rewilding Institute carry on the work of Kim Crumbo and Dave Foreman...
Within one year, almost to the day, we lost two of the most important voices for rewilding North America and, in particular, the Mogollon Rim.
Kim Crumbo, former Navy Seal, fought for this region for most of his career as a conservationist. His in-depth plan (linked further down this page) to protect and reconnect key wildlands and waters to form the Mogollon Wildlife Corridor is the road map we are using to move his work forward.
Dave Foreman, co-founder of Earth First! and The Wildlands Project (Network) and founder of The Rewilding Institute was tied deeply to the region. Starting with his love of the Gila / Aldo Leopold wilderness areas and running up through all the diverse habitats to the Grand Canyon. Few could talk to Dave for more than 10 minutes without him holding forth about some part of the vast Mogollon region he so loved to explore.
The work we do today (while we struggle to make sense of a world without Dave and Kim in it) is to see their dream for the Mogollon corridor come to life.
That's why we're asking for your support.
If you can't make all of the local hearings, write all the letters, conduct ground-truthing and organizing campaigns, or push for protections from various agencies in order to link up key areas of the region to form the Mogollon Wildlife Corridor, you can still provide critical support!
$10 per month might not seem like much, but that's $120 per year and that goes a very long way around here.
The battle to see this big chunk of 30x30 goal realized in the next 7 years, in many ways, is just beginning. A new phase of intense work by a coalition of organizations is underway, and our leading part in the fight requires The Rewilding Institute to rise to a new level of on-the-ground activism and organizing.
So, whether you are able to donate $500 or $5,000 one-time, or even just $3.00 per month, we will use it to protect and connect the Mogollon Rim and create the Mogollon Wildlife Corridor as Kim and Dave envisioned it.
(After you donate, please come back to this page and read on to learn everything about the critical campaign to protect habitat and biodiversity in the Mogollon complex.)
The protection and restoration of wild areas—including those along a future Mogollon Wildlife Corridor—is necessary to address both the loss of biodiversity and climate chaos. These closely interconnected crises are the biggest challenges of our times.
Eminent ecologist Edward O. Wilson and his global Half-Earth project have shown that keeping at least half of the planet in a more wild, protected state is key to ensuring the survival of diverse species, including humans. The protection of public lands in the United States is central to the Half-Earth strategy, as well as the national policy goal of conserving at least 30 percent of lands and waters by 2030.
Large intact lands help reduce climate impacts because they sequester carbon naturally and provide ecological resilience in the face of storms, wildfires, and drought. They provide wildlife, plants, and trees safe access to new areas—which could spell the difference between survival and extinction as current habitats change. Areas like the Mogollon Wildlife Corridor also safeguard springs, streams, and rivers—the vital water on which all life depends and is ever more precious as the planet warms.
The concept of rewilding drives the Mogollon vision. Well-established conservation science shows that maintaining the natural systems on which all life depends (like forests and rivers) requires protection of the "3 Cs:" Cores, Corridors, and Carnivores. That is, large, linked natural areas in which a wide range of species—including those that maintain balance in systems like wolves, bears, and mountain lions—have room to roam, hunt, and find mates.
Currently, parts of the Mogollon Wildlife Corridor are already protected and the entire area has been mapped and even traveled by conservationists, but the project as a whole has yet to be realized. The MogollonWildlife Corridor would knit together 11 million acres at the intersection of four unique and diverse ecological regions: the temperate Rocky Mountains to the north, sub-tropical Sierra Madre Occidental to the south, and the drier Chihuahuan and Sonoran Deserts to the east and west.
Much of the Mogollon area is the homeland of indigenous tribes and holds their vital cultural and ecological history. Nearly all of the area would comprise public lands, such as parts of the Gila and other National Forests and the Grand Canyon and other areas managed by the National Park Service.
The full blueprint for the Mogollon Wildlife Corridor, including in-depth analysis of the places and species it supports, was developed primarily by Kim Crumbo, a tireless advocate for the natural areas and indigenous peoples of the Southwest and beyond. A broad intact wildlife corridor along the Mogollon Rim and Plateau (southwest end of the vast Colorado Plateau) was one of the projects he was advancing at the time of his passing in 2021. The Rewilding Institute, Wild Arizona, Wildlands Network, New Mexico Wild, and other partners are working to achieve Kim’s vision for the Mogollon Wildlife Corridor.
Most of the proposed Mogollon Wildlife Corridor would be made up of public lands currently held in trust for the benefit of all and managed by the US government. Unfortunately, like other parts of the West, even these lands are carved up by roads (which can be impassable or even a death knell for animals) and are often degraded by logging, drilling, mining, and overgrazing by livestock.
Making the Mogollon Wildlife Corridor a reality will require stronger federal and state protection of specific parts of the land, natural systems, and species.
Key efforts include:
2023 Mogollon Rendezvous
Mapping for Rewilding – A Healing Nature’s Wounds Perspective
Maps have played an important role in identifying, characterizing, and planning wilderness protection and wildlife habitat conservation for years. What is needed for rewilding and wilderness protection are maps that can be viewed and understood by politicians, agency personnel, and interested citizens.
Maps based on Geographic Information System (GIS) layers have proven particularly useful. Such GIS mapping efforts went into the published Sky Islands Wildlands Network, the New Mexico Highlands Wildlands Network, the Southern Rockies Wildlands Network, and many subsequent land conservation efforts. [READ MORE]
See our work represented in an interactive map format alongside hundreds of other rewilding projects across the globe!
explorer.land is a map-based online platform. It is designed for presenting forest landscape projects, communicating their activities, and connecting them to like-minded organizations and stakeholders from around the world.