Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Picture of the Week- Empire Ranch

One of the things that I like about this area is the remnants of the grasslands just to the south of here. Most have been heavily transformed by grazing and the unrelenting march of Mesquite trees but in some areas there have been significant efforts to return to the grasslands of yesteryear. Just by chance the other day Nan and I were in the Sonoita area doing a little hiking and bird watching when I spotted a Northern Harrier from the road and wanted to get a better look and maybe take a picture or two. While we were stopped Nan spotted a kiosk out on the horizon which piqued our curiosity. We found a dirt road marked "Empire Ranch" and headed out to check it out.

 It was already mid afternoon so we didn't have a whole lot of time to explore, especially since the ranch is massive. We scouted a small section near the ranch headquarters and decided that we had to make a return trip much earlier in the day so we could explore this amazing place.
There is an ongoing effort to return 20,000 acres to grassland by removing the mesquite and a reintroduction effort for the Black-tailed Prairie Dog which became extinct in Arizona many year ago. I can't wait to make a return visit to this exciting project. You can read about the Empire Ranch here:                                      www.empireranchfoundation.org/RanchInfo.htm

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for reporting on this. Your blog is adding to our list of stuff to go see while we're here in the winter. I loved the post on Agua Caliente park, and now we must go see this, as well. Great photography.