In February, Sarah Swallow hosted Ruta Del Jefe, a 125-mile self supported adventure race following dirt roads around the Santa Rita Mountains, the lair of one of the only North American Jaguars to live in the U.S., El Jefe. Set in Sky Islands region of the Sonoran Desert, in the US/Mexico borderlands in Southern Arizona Ruta Del Jefe follows remote and rugged dirt roads through one of the most biodiverse and beautiful places in the world yet, the region is plagued with many environmental threats and a humanitarian crisis that need our attention and action.
Ruta Del Jefe is not just a bicycle race. Through the event we seek to raise awareness among cyclists of the environmental and political threats affecting this region. Some of the key issues highlighted through Ruta del Jefe is the environmental threat of the proposed Rosemont Copper Mine (a half mile deep-one mile wide open pit copper mine) and Executive Order 13767 (which calls for a physical solid wall to be built along the border) would have on the wildlife habitat and migratory species, the water quality, and outdoor recreation in the Sky Islands region. Another issue highlighted is the current U.S. national policy to regulate illegal migration through “Prevention Through Deterrence” which deters illegal migrant traffic to more hostile terrain, less suited for crossing and better suited for enforcement. As a result of this strategy, hundreds of undocumented migrants suffer or die from dehydration, starvation, and the extreme journey through the desert each year within the borderlands where Ruta del Jefe takes place.
To learn more about Ruta del Jefe, click here.