Mount Graham (Piñaleno Mountains) is a unique
ecological treasure that is sacred to the
San Carlos Apache. It is the tallest mountain in southern Arizona and encompasses 6 different life zones from the valley floor to it's peak at 10,720 ft.
For decades, Apaches,
scientists, conservationists, and university students
have resisted the University of Arizona's decision to build
several large telescopes on the mountain's summit.
In English - Mount Graham
- Dzil Nchaa Si An
Called a "sky island" ecosystem, the old growth forests on Mount
Graham's summit are the Arizona equivalent of rainforests. The
abundant springs and high altitude meadows have offered sustenance
and a source of healing to desert dwelling Apaches. While frequent
cloud cover makes telescope viewing marginal (Mount Graham was
ranked 38th in a study of astronomical sites in the US), the cool
moist characteristics of the mountain have aided the evolution of
18 different plants and animals found nowhere else in the world.
Today, the construction of telescopes and resulting federal closure
of the mountain top are desecrating the mountain and its
irreplaceable relationship with the Apache people.