Skip to comments.Pipeline off, water safe, illegals near: In Huachucas, Tombstone feels immigration impact
Posted on 11/23/2003 7:13:55 AM PST by HiJinx
HUACHUCA MOUNTAINS -- Regardless of what some may think, Tombstone's water supply from canyons more than 30 miles from this historic community is safe.
The city's director of public works said concerns that water coming from an above ground Carr Canyon spring is being contaminated by illegal immigrants and endangering Tombstone's water supply are wrong.
"We have not used the Carr Canyon pipeline for months and will not until the problem with the illegals is taken care of," Robert Reames said Friday near the catch basin that flows into a pipe.
Carr Canyon spring water is not being used by the city, Reames said. The pipe from Carr Canyon was turned off early last summer.
Besides health concerns, the flow of water from the Carr Canyon spring is less than 7 gallons per minute and does not add that much to the city's needs, Reames said.
What water is coming out of the Huachuca Mountains is coming from an underground spring in Miller Canyon that flows at 100 gpm and is an important source for Tombstone's needs, he said. The city also has three wells in the community that in total pumps about 700 gpm.
As for the Miller Canyon spring water, the area where it flows into a pipe is covered and the immediate area is enclosed in what Reames described as a "dog run" -- a 6-foot high chain-link fence that includes a chain-link top.
The two sites are part of five areas Tombstone has in the Huachuca Mountains to provide water to the city. The three other areas are not in use and haven't been for a long time. Each site has five acres of land.
The pipeline from the Huachuca Mountains was started in 1881. Construction of the more than 30-mile-long line to Tombstone was completed in 1882. The pipeline was originally constructed by a group of private investors and was called the Huachuca Water Co., Reames said.
Capt. Samuel Marmaduke Whitside, who established what was originally called Camp Huachuca, now Fort Huachuca, was one of the original investors.
In 1949, the sole living owner of the company sold the pipeline to Tombstone, keeping only 10 shares of the 10,000 she had, Reames said.
Drought conditions have sometimes caused the pipeline from Carr Canyon to be closed.
Continuing drought conditions and an increase in illegal immigrant traffic in the remote area of Carr Canyon where the pipeline begins have led to stopping the flow from the above-ground spring to Tombstone.
"It was a couple of months ago that we noticed more signs of illegals in Carr Canyon," Reames said. "It used to be the only thing we worried about was the resident bear."
Just to get to the catchment basin for the Carr Canyon Spring requires driving over a road strewn with rocks and covered with fallen branches. It is a slow trip through some of the most magnificent scenes in the canyon.
The autumn colors brighten the normal daytime darkness caused by trees blocking out the sunlight.
After getting out of Reames' truck, it takes about a quarter of a mile hike up an ever-increasing steep path to reach the basin.
Not far from where the water enters the pipeline, a sign states: "No trespassing. Property of City of Tombstone. Violators will be prosecuted under A.R.S. 13-502A-1."
"Maybe we need to put a sign up in Spanish," Reames said.
On Friday, the collection of debris from illegal immigrants wasn't much. Reames used what had apparently been a large black plastic trash bag used by an illegal immigrant as a raincoat to put some garbage from the Carr Canyon spring site to clean up the area. The bag had a whole for a person's head and two for arms, which Reames tied off. He collected some water bottles, a toothbrush, empty food cartons and tins, a glove and some dirty clothing.
"This is the cleanest I've seen it (the basin site) recently," he said.
At times, there have been more than five trash bags full of garbage removed every time a person from the Tombstone public works department comes to the area.
Looking at the tall trees, the high cliffs and the signs of wild animal activities, Reames said it upsets him that the illegal immigrants are ruining such a beautiful part of Mother Nature.
"The (Carr Canyon) spring will be shut off until the illegal traffic stops," he said.
There have been increased sightings of illegal immigrants in Carr Canyon recently, Reames said. U.S. Border Patrol agents told him that not all those being apprehended are from Mexico.
"I've been told Chinese, Russians and Iranians have been found," Reames said.
As he drove out of Carr Canyon followed by Tombstone Water Department employee Harry Cray, a group of people was seen lying off to the side of the road. Reames stopped his truck and called the U.S. Border Patrol to report the sighting.
Some of the group fled almost immediately, but at least a half dozen tried to hide. They, too, finally ran, joining about a dozen others heading up the hill.
The consensus was that they were waiting for a ride to take them north.
Although Carr Canyon seems to be an active place for illegal immigrants, the part of Miller Canyon where Tombstone has a water sources does not seem to be affected.
Cray, a Tombstone Water Department employee, said he works about 16 hours a week checking out the two canyons and the pipeline. He usually makes the trip from Tombstone to the Huachuca Mountains, as well as to where the two pipelines connect in the Hereford area before heading for Tombstone, twice a week. When he inspects the areas, he also checks the trails going to the sites and picks up whatever trash he finds.
At the Carr Canyon site, his dog once came upon about a dozen illegal immigrants and he told them to leave. Cray said he watched as they went down in single file and then saw them scatter into the woods.
Because of the concerns of illegal immigrants causing problems at the Carr Canyon spring area, Cray said action was taken to protect the more important Miller Canyon underground spring site. The site has a large metal plate over the main part where the spring enters the pipeline. The special enclosure was added a couple of weeks ago.
The sound of the rushing water became more evident when he lifted the metal plate to show the fast moving stream as it entered the pipeline.
The water from the Miller Canyon site goes through a primary and secondary filtering process once it reaches Tombstone. When the Carr Canyon site was being used, that water eventually merged with the Miller Canyon flow so both went through the filtering process.
"We're not going to do anything to harm Tombstone people," Cray said.
Robert Reames, director of the city of Tombstone's public works, stands by a water pipe laid in the 1880s that is no longer supplying water to Tombstone. The pipe is located in Carr Canyon and is fed by an above ground spring. Illegal immigrants have been using the Carr Canyon spring for bathing and other uses. (Ed Honda-Herald/Review)
"...and other uses": a euphemism for
taking a dump relieving one's self in the water.
But if all you want to do is "feel", then rant on.
There should be no borders. We must all learn to live together as one happy family. (/sarcasm)
Damn It! The entrance to Carr Canyon is just a half mile walk from the font door of the home I used to live in in Hereford AZ. I used to hike that canyon weekly and daily during the spring when the waterfalls were pouring! This time of year the Aspens toward the top of Carr Peak would be beautiful with color. I hate that foriegn SOBs have no respect for our laws or our lands! I say allow private citizens to patrol those canyons...armed! I'd hate to see these areas closed because of illegals. That will only keep out law abiding citizens.
WE DON'T NEED NO STEEEKIN' BORDERS!"
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.