MAR 5 wins big at the 2019 Environmental Excellence Awards

GRIC wins top honors of all project submissions for Interpretive Trail

Sept. 21, 2019


Christopher Lomahquahu

Gila River Indian News


Recently, the Gila River Indian Community was presented a special award acknowledging its commitment to preserving the natural habitat and history of the Community. The 39th Annual Environmental Excellence Awards & 50th Anniversary Gala, was held at the Arizona Biltmore Resort on Sept. 21.


The annual gala is hosted by Arizona Forward, a valley organization established to bring business leaders and policymakers together to advocate, promote economic and environmental growth in a meaningful way. Among 93 projects, that were submitted by private and public-sector nominees, the Community received two awards, The President’s Award and the Crescordia Award for Site Development and Landscape.


In an Arizona Forward press release, Lori Singleton, President and CEO of Arizona Forward said, “The gala was a special evening and we are proud to honor some very important projects.” She said many of the nominations were related to water, with an emphasis on community-centered projects.

In the press release, Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis, Lt. Gov. Robert Stone, Willard Antone III, Department of Environmental Quality Director, David DeJong Pima-Maricopa Irrigation Project Director, representatives from Hunter Contracting Co., and Neil+Young Associates were present to receive the awards.


The President’s Award, which is a new category for this year’s Arizona Forward gala in honor of Arizona Forward’s 50th Anniversary, highlighted the Community’s MAR 5 Gila River interpretive trail for its commitment toward the education and reintroduction of traditional practices to GRIC members.

The Crescordia Award, recognized the MAR 5 Gila River Interpretive Trail Project, for its purpose of preserving the natural landscape, traditional practices and history of the Community. Hunter Contracting, who built the MAR 5 Gila River interpretive trail, was recognized for their involvement in the site development and landscape of the facility. 


According to an article about the awards in Arizona Big Media, Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis said, “I am proud that the Gila River Indian Community was recognized as the recipient of the Arizona Forward President’s Award for our MAR 5 Gila River Interpretive Trail.”

Lewis, said the MAR 5 interpretive trail promotes sustainability practices and focuses on the ongoing drought and climate change, but is also the vision of his late father, Rodney Lewis, to bring back the river through the recharge site.


“The MAR 5 interpretive trail will be a living tribute to our water right, our Huhugam and teaching our future generations, our historic and ongoing ties to the Gila River,” said Lewis in the press release.