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 photos of the 2016 Roundup.
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.
Ranch House structural improvements recently completed include securing the roof framework to the tops of the walls in the Victorian Addition, the Ranch Manager’s Quarters, and Pantry. Clay-rich dirt, quarried from a site used for previous material, was cast into replacement adobe bricks which are now curing in the area of the former swimming pool.
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.
The Empire Ranch Foundation was recognized by the Cienega Watershed Partnership (CWP) with a listing on CWP’s Wall of Honor. The Wall of Honor recognizes those who have contributed significantly to advancing the CWP mission of sustaining the Cienega watershed. The service must be extraordinary both in time and diversity and it must be significant and long-term to the watershed.
The award recognizes ERF for providing a lasting and beneficial impact on the Empire Ranch Headquarters and on Las Cienegas National Conservation Area. These include partnering, developing, funding, and supporting with time and resources significant programs in 1) site protection, stabilization and restoration; 2) heritage education, exhibits and interpretation; 3) archival work including oral history, photographic, and other documentation; and, 4) public events, communication and opportunities for involvement.
On April 14, 2018 Walter L. Vail (1852-1906) will be inducted into the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s Hall of Great Westerners. This high honor is bestowed by the Museum “on exceptional individuals who have made an indelible impact upon the history of the great West.” Walter Vail joins Frank Seymour Boice (1894-1956), who operated and owned the Empire Ranch from 1928-1956, and more than 200 other individuals who contributed to the advancement of western heritage.