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5:25 AM Thu, Jan. 24th

Agua Fria National Monument's new manager is Hawes

After a 10-year absence from Arizona, first working in Bureau of Land Management offices in New Mexico and then Washington, D.C., Rem Hawes returns to Arizona as manager of Agua Fria National Monument.

"I started my career with the BLM in Phoenix in 1992 and worked in Arizona until 1996. After 10 years I'm happy to be returning," Hawes said. "I'm a sixth-generation Colorodoan, so I'm an Arizona transplant. But my wife's family goes back four generations in the Phoenix and Scottsdale areas." Hawes and his wife, Tina, have two school-aged daughters.

During the first few years of his BLM career, Hawes worked as a firefighter, public affairs specialist and volunteer coordinator. In 1999, Hawes traded his field boots for a briefcase and transferred to BLM Headquarters in Washington, D.C. where he worked in the legislative and administrative branch of BLM.

"During 2000 to 2002, Hawes served as the acting public affairs manager and legislative affairs deputy manager," said Christine Tincher, public relations officer for BLM's Phoenix District. "He also regularly served as the spokesman for the BLM director when most of the BLM's 15 national monuments were established including the Agua Fria National Monument."

On Jan. 11, 2000, President William J. Clinton signed Proclamation 7263 creating the Agua Fria National Monument.

Teri Raml, Phoenix District manager, said Hawes' time at BLM headquarters during the establishment of AFNM "make him an excellent choice as manager of Agua Fria National Monument."

"The Agua Fria National Monument is one of the nation's best and largely intact natural and cultural heritage landscapes," Hawes said. "The monument contains an extraordinary record of prehistoric rock art, agricultural features and pueblo ruins inhabited by thousands of people up to about 550 year ago.

"The natural and archaeological landscape of the monument represents a rich scientific laboratory and an important part of the cultural heritage of Native Americans today. The monument also contains historic sites representing early Anglo-American history including remnants of Basque sheep camps, historic mining features and military activities."

Hawes knows that the same unique features of AFNM that attract history buffs and nature fans - its remoteness, unpaved roads, and lack of developed amenities - are some of the same features that attract criminal activity.

"The biggest threats to the monument come from illegal trash dumping, human trafficking activities, and vandalism and theft of archaeological sites," he said. "The monument is a very big deal for Arizona and the BLM. Considering that the monument is about 40 miles from Phoenix, we know that we have unique demands and challenges to promote, yet protect the monument."

Hawes believes the solution to curbing destructive behavior to the national monument is increasing public visitation, not limiting it. However, in order to safeguard some particularly sensitive natural and cultural sites, Hawes also is reviewing vehicle usage in the monument. He said the BLM intends to close and rehabilitate some roads (return to a natural condition) and re-designate other roads for hiking or horseback riding only.

"I believe that ideally our preservation efforts should feature increased public access and involvement," he said. "This would include putting up signs for designated roads and trails, creating interpretive signs and stabilizing some ruins.

"The most important thing we can do is increase visitation by people who disapprove of degradation of the monument and would report illegal activity. From there we must excel in the use of volunteers.

"I also want to further our partnership with the communities that serve as gateways to the national monument. And I want to increase our partnership with researchers, schools, the Friends of the Agua Fria National Monument, Arizona Site Stewards, recreation groups and other organizations."

Off-duty from managing the 71,000-acre national monument, Hawes does not retreat indoors with his family for entertainment.

"We enjoy outdoor activities together including hiking, horseback riding, camping, mountain biking, four-wheel driving and skiing."