The United States Forest Service has finalized plans for the Apache Leap Special Management Area (SMA) to protect the culturally significant site above the town of Superior, Arizona. The approved plan is the result of 16 months of detailed environmental and cultural analysis and was developed in consultation with multiple stakeholders, including 12 Native American Tribes, the town of Superior, and interested members of the public.  The creation of the Apache Leap Special Management Area was the result of bipartisan legislation passed by the US Congress and signed into law by President Obama in 2013. 

Resolution Copper project director Andrew Lye said, “We were pleased to be part of the Forest Service consultation process on protections for Apache Leap.  This is a major milestone and the broad consultation allowed us to understand the concerns of our neighbors and make adjustments to our plans to ensure that Apache Leap is fully protected in perpetuity.”

The Apache Leap Special Management Area protects and preserves the natural character of this unique topography and its ecology, habitats and scenery by prohibiting mining, livestock grazing and overnight camping within the Apache Leap SMA. 

The Forest Service conducted comprehensive government-to-government consultations with 12 Arizona tribes and specific measures were taken within the SMA to accommodate tribal concerns regarding public access, grazing and other protections for locations of cultural importance.

The Apache Leap SMA was added to the bipartisan legislation that passed Congress in 2013 to facilitate a land exchange between the Tonto National Forest and Resolution Copper.  As part of the exchange of land, Resolution Copper will contribute 142 acres of privately held land and forgo 697 acres of unpatented mining claims that will become part of the 839 acre Apache Leap SMA.  More information about the land exchange implementation is available on the Tonto National Forest’s website on the topic: The US Forest service also has more information on the Apache Leap SMA at: