What’s New

Become an ERF Docent!

Are you interested in learning more about the Empire Ranch and sharing your knowledge with visitors to the Empire Ranch? Then join us for the next Empire Ranch Foundation Docent Training Class on Saturday, January 19, 2019 from 9 am to 2:30 pm.

Volunteer docents conduct monthly tours of the Empire Ranch House that provide a general introduction to the history of the Empire Ranch, its buildings and its people. Each docent provides an average of two monthly tours annually.  Upon completion of the Docent Training Class each docent receives individual tour training.

If you’re interested in participating as a volunteer docent, click here to register for the January 19th class.  For questions or additional information contact Alison Bunting, Docent Coordinator, alisbunting@gmail.com.

Posted 11/11/2018

Christmas at the Ranch

Be sure to join us for Christmas at the Empire Ranch on Saturday December 8th from 10 to 2, a fun way to start the holiday season.  The Empire Ranch House will be decked out in Christmas finery, with cowboy boot stockings hung on the fireplace, mantels decorated with garlands and ornaments, and a little village in the family kitchen window.

Have your picture taken with Santa, and make and take a Christmas tree ornament or card. Sample homemade cookies and candies, sing favorite Christmas carols, and do some Christmas shopping with various Sonoita craft vendors and the Elgin/Sonoita Cowbelles.

Posted 11/4/2018

Help Us With a Year-End Gift

It’s been an exciting year for the Empire Ranch! The long-awaited stabilization of  the main ranch Ranch House is completed. We are fast at work developing exhibits and interpretive signs for those rooms and other areas of the Ranch House. We hope you will help us with a year-end contribution which will help fund new exhibits and improvements to existing exhibits for generations to come.

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

Posted 11/4/2018

2018 Cowboy Festival

Over 2,000 excited visitors enjoyed the picture-perfect day at the Empire Ranch Cowboy Festival on Saturday, November 3, 2018. Click here for the 2018 program listing, and  here to see photos of the day.

Updated  11/4/2018

Yes! 2018

Thirteen enthusiastic students participated in the 2018 Youth Engaged Stewardship (YES!) program at Las Cienegas NCA.  After learning about the history of LCNCA and area inhabitants, the students spent several days working at the
Hummel Ranch, located a few miles south of Empire Ranch Headquarters. They measured, photographed and documented the ranch structures, removed vegetation from the ranch house, and cleared brush to make the area surrounding the structures “fire safe.”

They visited the Sacaton flats at Gardner Canyon to learn of past work by YES! groups and identified a need to record quantitative data to document the success of erosion mitigation efforts.  They also surveyed one LCNCA prairie dog colony
and contributed data to a formal report with retired Arizona Game and Fish Biologist, Robert Fink. At “Bill’s Pond” Dennis Caldwell worked with the students to transplant native aquatic plants, improve habitat along the edges of the pond, and create a water flow structure to help aerate the pond, and built overwintering structures for the endangered
Chiricahua leopard frog.

Posted 9/6/2018

View 3:10 to Yuma Under the Stars

Over 100 guests enjoyed the free outdoor showing of 3:10 to Yuma at Empire Ranch Headquarters on Thursday, September 20th.  Special thanks are due to The Loft Cinema and the ERF volunteers who made the evening under the stars possible. The event was part of The Loft Cinema’s Shot on Location series.  Click here to view photos of the event.

Updated  9/21/2018

National Public Lands Day

In celebration of National Public Lands Day, 17 volunteers joined BLM staff on September 22nd to work on several projects at the Empire Ranch Headquarters. Work was done on the Discovery Heritage Trail as well as the historical ranch house, where interpretive displays inside and exterior preparations for painting the front porch were completed. We appreciate the hard work of so many volunteers to make these improvements for visitors to the Empire Ranch and LCNCA. There will be a week day work day in mid-October to complete the painting project before the Cowboy Festival on Nov. 3rd. Please contact admin@empireranchfoundation.org for more information.

Click here to view photos of the work completed.

Updated 9/28/2018

The Outlaw Josey Wales

Almost 200 guests attended the 2018 Western Movie at the Loft Cinema in Tucson showing of The Outlaw Josey Wales on August 8th.  Prior to the movie, guests enjoyed a panel discussion with Michael F. Blake, retired Hollywood make-up artist and the author of Cowboy President, a book about the cowboy days of Theodore Roosevelt. He was joined on the panel by retired Hollywood stuntman Bunker DeFrance.  Colleagues of Blake and DeFrance’s close friend Neil Summers worked on the film, portions of which were shot on the Empire Ranch.

Click here to view photos of the event.

Updated 8/16/2018

Empire Ranch House Stabilization Update

The Empire Ranch House is open after a 15 month closure for a major stabilization project!  It will take several months to put the Ranch House back in order but it’s wonderful to see the rooms without bracing supports, a smooth coat of lime plaster on the exterior walls, and be able to explore the Children’s Addition which has been inaccessible for years for safety reasons.

Updated 7/29/2018

Volunteer Days

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, February 16th from 8am to noon. To volunteer, please submit a Volunteer Opportunities Form, and we will contact you with more details!

Post updated 9/6/2018