NACO — For the last couple of years, contractors have been placing construction materials on a small parcel in Camp Naco without permission, and the practice may have harmed the delicate soil at the site, an anthropology instructor who advocates for the camp said.
The trespassing was discovered earlier this week when Cochise College instructor Rebecca Orozco — who is also a member of Friends of Camp Naco — and new City of Bisbee Public Works Director Jesus Haro, were touring the area.
The dumping of construction materials on the parcel — which is adjacent to small buildings that once served as officers’ residences — may have disturbed the ground there “in ways we’ll never be able to recover,” Orozco said.
Both Orozco and Haro spotted mounds of sand and aggregate base — commonly known as AB — had been left on the property. Bisbee took ownership of Camp Naco last year from Huachuca City.
Orozco said the piles had been there for a while, but because of constant change and turnover in Bisbee city government, nothing could get accomplished at Camp Naco.
Haro, who joined the city in April, said he would allow Northern Pipeline — the contractor who left the sand and AB piles at the property — to finish their job and then the department will place at least two signs advising that Camp Naco is a historic site that belongs to the city.
“The piles of dirt have been growing and this is the biggest I’ve seen them,” Orozco said. “This is a national historic site of national importance.”
She explained that the soil around the buildings at Camp Naco — which dates back to the Mexican Revolution — could hold objects dating back to the time when the U.S. opened the border outpost to protect the country from Mexican invaders.
“No one should be using that,” Haro agreed, referring to the parcel.
Ignacio Bustamante, a contractor with the Tucson-based Northern Pipeline (NPL), said earlier this week that the company was under the impression that it could use the parcel because they thought it was owned by Arizona Water.
”This has been going on a long time,” Bustamante said. “We were just under the impression that we could do it. If there had been a sign out there prohibiting it, we would not have done it.”
Arizona Water Division Manager Frank Cabello said the company does not even service the Camp Naco area. He said he is not familiar with anyone telling NPL that they could use the site.
Regardless, no one will be using it after next week, and that is a relief to Orozco.
”The fact that Bisbee has taken over the Camp is an incredible thing and very appreciated,” Orozco said. “Its been the first time we’ve been able to make things come together.”