The Empire Ranch Headquarters public restroom building has been raised to mitigate water erosion problems, two ADA-accessible parking spaces have been added near the front of the building, and a hard-surfaced pathway now leads down to the start of the Heritage Discovery Trail.
Runoff water from rains was causing gullying in the parking area, and undermining the concrete slab floor of the two public restrooms and storage room that make up the building. Because the entire Ranch Headquarters site slopes to the north, it was decided to raise the level of the restroom and parking area to mitigate the erosion.
Click here to view photos of the project.
Twelve enthusiastic students participated in the 2017 Youth Engaged Stewardship (YES!) program at Las Cienegas NCA. The students met with BLM historic preservationist Chris Schrager to survey land within the conservation area for historical artifacts and potential evidence of an apple orchard which existed near the Ranch headquarters in the early 1900s. The students obtained tree trunk samples, to be compared with images of apple tree dendrology, and helped to reveal and document an older cement trough and water pipeline found near the potential apple orchard. The pipeline and water trough were thoroughly documented with photos, written and drawn observations, and GPS coordinates. The analysis of the tree samples revealed they were not fruit trees, so further investigation into the location of the trees will be needed.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Gila District has re-opened all areas within the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area (NCA), after a partial and emergency temporary closure due to the Sawmill Fire and related Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation efforts. Click here for additional information.
Plan to attend the 17th Annual Roundup and Open House on Saturday, November 4, 2017. It’s an exciting, educational, and fun family event. Program events will be posted soon. Click here for the preliminary program.
Dedicated volunteers have been key to preserving the historic Empire Ranch House and Headquarters. Volunteer Days for hands-on preservation activities at the ranch are held generally on the third Saturday of February, April, June, August, and October. Join us for the next Volunteer Day on Saturday, October 28th from 8am to 2pm. To volunteer, please submit a Volunteer Opportunities Form, and we will contact you with more details!
Work on removal of cottonwoods (limbs and dead trees) burned by the Sawmill Fire in the Empire Gulch is almost complete. Once the work to remove this safety hazard is completed BLM will re-open this section of the LCNCA for public use. For a recent story about the tree removal project click here.
The process of removing the cement plaster covering on the Ranch House has begun on the south side of the Victorian Addition. The cement plaster traps moisture which causes adobe to deteriorate. A lime plaster covering will be applied later in the project. A Boice era flower bed was recently uncovered just south of the Master Bedroom of the Victorian Addition. Click here to view photos of the project as it proceeds.
The Ranch House stabilization project will include reinforcing the foundations in several areas; securing the tops of the walls for structural strength; repairing interior and exterior wall surfaces; replacing the roof on the Victorian Addition; rehabilitating the Children’s Addition to make it safe for visitors; and contouring work around the house to improve drainage. Statistical Research Inc. is doing the work under a BLM contract. To assure public safety the Ranch House will be closed for most of the year, starting in May 2017.
The August 2nd showing of Ride the High Country was a great success. Many thanks to our guest speaker, Wyatt McCrea, for an entertaining presentation. Click here to view photos of the event.
At the 2017 Arizona Historic Preservation Conference the Empire Ranch Foundation was honored as a collaborator on two award winning projects. Both projects received a Governor’s Heritage Preservation Honor Award as outstanding achievements in preserving Arizona’s past.
The Cienega Watershed Timeline Project is a publicly accessible, web-based interactive timeline of important events
occurring throughout history in the watershed and its neighboring Arizona communities. The Empire Ranch Historic American Landscapes Survey documented the Empire Ranch historic landscape.
Over 60 enthusiastic visitors helped celebrate National Day of the Cowboy on Saturday, July 22nd at the Empire Ranch. Click here to view photos of the day’s activities.