Las Cienegas and the Historic Empire Ranch
I am an advocate for public lands, a self proclaimed spokeswoman for our National Forest Service and Parks and the people who work in the service of these government departments.
Recently Rosie and I discovered the Las Cienegas National Conservation and Historic Empire Ranch, 5 miles north of Sonoita, Arizona. An expansive landscape of desert grasslands, rolling hills dotted with mesquite trees, dry auroras lined with giant cottonwood trees, antelope, deer, raptors, land that gives you the feel of freedom. When we arrived a couple of weeks ago, I stepped out of Rosie’s truck and said, “ I feel like I’m on the African Savanna.” I have never been on the African Savanna but I have seen photos…this is what the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area felt like to me, exotic, breathtaking vistas, wind, sky and grass.
When I see the volumes of people striking out for a weekend camping expedition, when I read about the record breaking attendance Glacier Park, Yellowstone Park and Yosemite support each year and when I see the struggle between differing land use managements ie: motorized 4-wheeler, non motorized – horseback riders, hikers, bicyclist, hunters, the logging and mineral interest, all grabbing, all vying for a peace of open space, natural beauty, a place to “get away from it all… I think, “ We need more public lands.”
It is impressive what a group of strong minded determined people did in saving this ranch land and the ,ambience it embraces. www.empireranchfoundation.org. From the website……
The Empire Ranch Foundation (ERF) was established as a private non-profit organization in 1997 to work with the BLM to develop private support to preserve the ranch buildings and enhance the educational and recreational opportunities it offers to the general public. In the time since, ERF and BLM have completed significant emergency repairs to the main ranch house and to major outbuildings at the headquarters. Major long term permanent repairs to the Ranch House and Adobe Haybarn are being specified and undertaken as funding permits, while interpretation and education programs and a Discovery Trail and other visitor enhancements…
Between BLM and the Empire Ranch foundation the Las Cienegas has managed to blend a working ranch, 4-wheelers, hikers, horseback riders and hunters on to this 42,000 acre conservation area. It is clean, does not have roads everywhere and retains a sense of being alone with the land. Rosie felt it deserved a generous donation. In a time when our public lands are being threatened we must all pitch in and help and not rely so heavily on the government to save these national treasures.
My hat is off to the BLM and the Empire Ranch Foundation…and its a big hat!
Is a quaint, charming artist’s town. The streets are open and lovely and the people friendly. As Rosie, Bella and I strolled the town on a sunny afternoon I noticed this sign. I never did meet any of the women from the group but Rhonda the woman on the ladder said they were very influential in the community. One-hundred years ladies!!! goodness by the looks of your town you are doing something right.