Save the Scenic Santa Ritas

A nonprofit organization

161 donors

Why our work is important: Who knew that jaguars, a rare orchid, and yellow-billed cuckoos inhabit a landscape just 15 miles southeast of Tucson? This unique region is also home to a growing wine industry, a world-class astronomy observatory, generations of ranching families, and thousands of years of Native American history and tradition. It's all there, but these resources are under threat by the proposed Rosemont Mine, a massive Canadian-owned copper mine that, if realized, would result in a mine pit 3,000 feet deep and over 1 mile wide. The pit, mine tailings, waste, and other impacts would permanently disturb roughly 3,700 acres of public land within the Coronado National Forest.

Save the Scenic Santa Ritas has been successfully fighting the proposed Rosemont mine since 2005, and has the support of nearly every governmental body in S. Arizona, in addition to endorsements by nearly 100 local groups, organizations, and businesses, representing over 80,000 individuals. Through our extensive outreach activities, we have successfully spread the word about the environmental, social, and economic damage that a mine in this sensitive area would cause, and we will continue to legally challenge inappropriate permit approvals related to the proposal.

Although the U.S. Forest Service recently issued a Final Environmental Impact Statement for the mine, the review process is far from complete. What’s at stake in the Forest Service’s decision and that of other agencies can never be replaced.  

Just a few of the proposed mine impacts include:

  • Loss and degradation of surface and groundwater resources that sustain groundwater for human use and critical aquatic and riparian areas such as Las Cienegas National Conservation Areas, which Congress recognized as a nationally important area with high diversity of plants and animals
  • Destruction of habitat and individuals representing nine endangered and threatened species, including the only known jaguar living in the U.S.
  • Complete loss of 85 historic properties that include Native American remains and prehistoric sites, and resource-gathering locations thousands of years old
  • Degradation of air quality throughout the region, including Saguaro National Park East & West, from mine vehicles, dirt roads, crushers and conveyors
  • Permanent destruction of the area’s scenic integrity, including nine viewpoints along Highway 83 between I-10 and Sonoita
  • Significant traffic increases along Highways 83 & 82, as the mine would generate 55-88 round- trip truck shipments daily
  • Compromised integrity of the region’s dark skies
  • Decreased revenues from Southern Arizona’s 2.4 billion dollar tourism and recreation industry

History of SSSR: We formed our non-profit organization in 1996 in response to a proposal from ASARCO Mining, Inc. for a land exchange and open-pit copper mine in the Santa Rita Mountains, about 40 miles south of Tucson, Arizona. We were instrumental in stopping that proposal in 1998. In 2005, a junior mining company from Canada, Augusta Resource, Inc., purchased the property and proposed an open pit copper mine at that location, the Rosemont Mine. The site is important for recreation, hunting, camping, watershed and water resources, viewshed, and quality of life in Southern Arizona.

We invite you to join us in our mission to protect the Santa Ritas - we need your help to keep this precious area intact for future generations!

For more information:

Organization Data


Organization name

Save the Scenic Santa Ritas

Tax id (EIN)





8987 E TANQUE VERDE ROAD #309157
TUCSON, AZ 85749