What’s New

Are You an ERF Member?

Did you know that in 2019 membership dues provided 33% of the Foundation’s income?   ERF’s first membership drive was held in 2002 to implement one of the Foundation’s strategic planning goals– to expand the number of interested, contributing members to provide a continuing source of funds for preservation and outreach programs, and to participate in Empire Ranch Foundation programs and activities.

A strong membership base is as critical to ERF’s success today as then.  And it is especially important now since we are unable to host fundraising events.  If you are not a member, please consider joining by clicking here.   If you are a member we hope your membership is current.  If you’re unsure of your membership status contact send an email to admin@empireranchfoundation.org.

Posted 7/29/2020

National Day of the Cowboy

The planned celebration of National Day of the Cowboy on Saturday, July 26, 2020 has been cancelled due to  COVID-19 health concerns.  We look forward to hosting the event again in 2021.

Click here to view photos of the 2019 celebration


Posted 6/19/2020

Ranch House Remains Open

The historic Empire Ranch House on Las Cienegas National Conservation Area remains open for individual visitation.  Each room of the Ranch House has interpretive signage that explains the history of the room, its use, and past occupants.  Please be sure to close all doors behind you and practice social distancing if you encounter other visitors when touring the building.

Visitor Contact Center Closed

The BLM’s partner, Empire Ranch Foundation (ERF), in coordination with the BLM, has decided to close temporarily the Huachuca House visitor contact center within  Las Cienegas National Conservation Area (LCNCA).  Large group events facilitated by ERF, involving carpools or bus transport, are suspended until further notice.

Docent Tours Cancelled

The Empire Ranch Foundation docent tours, held on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month, are cancelled until further notice.  The Empire Ranch House will remain open for self-guided tours.  Each room of the Ranch House has signage that describes the history and function of the room.

Posted 3/17/2020

Spring Trail Ride–Postponed

Due to the CDC’s guidelines, Empire Ranch Foundation (ERF) has decided to postpone our April 4th Spring Trail Ride to a later date.   We will continue to comply with the guidelines and once the CDC no longer has concerns with large gatherings, we will notify you of the new date for the event.

We will accommodate those who may want to receive a refund at this time.  For the participants that became members of ERF by signing up for the event, please consider remaining members of the Foundation.

Your support helps with the preservation of the Historic Empire Ranch and all the outbuildings.  If you have never visited the ranch, we would like to invite you to see this hidden treasure.  If considering a refund, please email us at admin@empireranchfoundation.org.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.

Updated 3/15/2020

Office Interpretation

Plan to visit the Empire Ranch and view the newly interpreted Office (Room 11) in the Empire Ranch House.  Walter Vail added on the room he used to conduct his business and political affairs about 1878.  It still houses the Empire Land & Cattle Company safe in which Walter locked his whiskey when he was away from the ranch.  The Boice family also used this room as an office, and the safe was used to store the company’s books and records.  The room also contains a record/mailbox cabinet dating to the Vail era.

The room’s walls and interior woodwork were painted.  The cabinet was repaired, oiled, and cleaned.   A donated roll-top desk, rolling desk chair, and old Royal typewriter have been added to the furnishing.  Reproductions of five framed maps, which illustrate the location of the Empire Ranch and its holdings, including the Total Wreck Mine, are now mounted on the walls.

Posted 2/15/2020

School Desks Find a New Home

In 2007 the Bureau of Land Management obtained some classic school desks from the Tombstone Schools for use in the rehabilitated Fairbank Schoolhouse. Desks not needed at Fairbank have been in storage at the Empire Ranch headquarters until recently. On December 7, 2019, the desks were picked up by Patagonia Museum curators, Tom and Linda Shore.

The desks eventually will be placed in the historic school house in Lochiel, AZ, southeast of Patagonia. Built before 1905 of adobe and used as a schoolhouse through the 1970’s, the Lochiel Schoolhouse, which is owned by the Patagonia School District, has been leased by the Patagonia Museum for the purpose of preserving this historic site as a historic and educational facility for students and the community.

Posted 2/15/2020

Help Us With a Year-End Gift

We accomplished so much in 2019, thanks to the hard work of our volunteers and the generosity of our members and donors. In March BLM and ERF celebrated the completion of the historic Empire Ranch House renovation project.  Interpretation projects completed included the business Office (Room 11) used by the Vails and Boices which was painted, furnished, and interpreted with business records and maps.  The Living Room and Master Bedroom of the Victorian have new interpretive exhibits, and the Bookeeper’s Room is furnished with Victorian era pieces.   Our annual Cowboy Festival brought nearly 2,500 visitors to the ranch. Our outreach efforts have also garnered tremendous results with increased awareness and building our volunteer ranks.

Please help us with a year-end contribution which will support interpretation projects for additional areas of Empire Ranch Headquarters

To make a contribution, click here. Or call 888-364-2829 to process your donation by phone.

Posted 12/2/2019

Help Us Evaluate the Cowboy Festival

Please help us evaluate the 2019 Cowboy Festival to let us know how we did.  Click here to complete the online survey form.  It will take less than 5 minutes to complete.  We promise to put the information to good use!