At-Risk Devil's Canyon Near Superior is Subject of Short Film by Photographer Elias Butler; Area Could be Destroyed in Mining Plan
A short film by a Flagstaff photographer argues against the possible destruction of the Devil's Canyon wilderness while highlighting the area's rich scenery and wildlife.
Image: Still photo from Elias Butler's film, "A Not-So-Simple Exchange." A running stream in Devil's Canyon, east of Superior.
The wilderness area, including the popular Oak Flat Campground just east of Superior, is the target of a long-planned mining proposal to tap an estimated $60 billion in copper deposits. The plan remains on hold, with a bill in Congress floating around that would swap the land -- which was supposed to have been protected forever by a 1955 decree by President Eisenhower -- for land somewhere else in the state.
Photographer Elias Butler calls his 11:24 film, uploaded to YouTube late last month, "A Not-So-Simple Exchange: Why Arizona's Oak Flat Deserves Continued Protection From Copper Mining."
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The film is well put-together and powerful as a piece of propaganda in opposition to the mining plan. We won't vouch for all of the facts in it, though, including the idea that the entire area will be destroyed if the mining plan takes place. (We've read articles in the past that liken the potential destruction to that of an asteroid strike, but have also read rebuttals by mining supporters who claim the surface land won't be damaged.)
In any case, if you want to spend a few minutes looking at coatimundi babies, awesome rock hoodoos and running streams, all set to the idea that this all would be gone if the mining work ever begins, check it out: