10th Annual Gila River Festival:

Celebrating America’s First Wilderness River

The Gila River Festival will be held the third weekend of September, Sept. 18-21, 2014. All festival events are held in Silver City and in the Gila National Forest. Please visit the Gila Conservation Coalition’s website, for more information regarding the festival schedule and other events.

Gila River Festival
2014 marks a year of significant wilderness milestones. Across the country, conservationists will commemorate the Wilderness Act’s 50th anniversary. Here in southwest New Mexico, we’ll also celebrate the Gila Wilderness Area’s 90th anniversary, and the 10th anniversary of the Gila River Festival. As the nation’s first wilderness river, the Gila’s verdant thread of life weaves through these celebrations. Wilderness is a place where we satisfy our souls. Along the banks of the Gila River, you will find no more perfect place to immerse yourself in both solitude and great company with the natural world’s community of life. With the creation of our nation’s first wilderness area in our own backyard, we all are the stewards of the ideals of the Wilderness Act, and we stand on the shoulders of the visionaries who had the insight to protect America’s wild lands, and made the monumental effort to realize their dreams.
Together, we share a common love for the wild country of the Gila, a love that is fundamental and pristine, a love that seeks to affirm the continued existence of wilderness, in its most natural state. In our most compassionate moments, we realize that this land is not just ours, but belongs to our children. The Gila River is part of a legacy inherited from generations before us, and it is our responsibility to protect wild lands for future generations.
There is no more crucial time for concerted action than now, as 2014 marks the year that New Mexico’s Interstate Stream Commission will make their final decision under the Arizona Water Settlements Act. Will New Mexico decide to divert the Gila River, thus destroying its fragile ecology and beauty? Or will we have the wisdom to follow in the footsteps of conservation pioneer Aldo Leopold, Wilderness Act author Howard Zahniser, and other visionaries who understood the intrinsic value of our beloved river and its wilderness? As members of the community of life that is sustained by a healthy, free, and wild Gila River, we must take a stand for our river. After all, it is in the wild places where we began, and when they end, so do we.

the way of truth, learn from the clarity of water, learn freedom from the spreading grass. -hafiz

For more information, please visit the Gila Conservation Coalition website or contact them at 575.538.8078 or info@gilaconservation.org.