On October 26, 2023, 150 4th graders from Desert Willow Elementary School in Vail spent the day at Empire Ranch Headquarters learning about National Public Lands Day and Las Cienegas National Conservation Area. Students rotated through five stations staffed by BLM and Foundation experts. The Empire Ranch history station was located at the Tack Room where the students learned about branding and other ranching equipment.
The Empire Ranch Foundation is reaching out. This important historic site is capturing more and more hearts in the communities in the region. Ironically, most people don’t realize that it takes their support to achieve the worthy goal of preserving these ranch buildings. Foundation membership demonstrates that the Empire Ranch is meaningful to more and more people. The more members we have, the more matching funds we can earn from our partners.
The Foundation has made a big decision. We’ve reducing our basic membership to only $35.00. Now, honestly, we’d love to receive more financial support from everyone for this important piece of Arizona history, but we are taking a chance on you. We are asking you to encourage your friends and acquaintances to take advantage of this reduced rate. Financial support is the one thing you can do that doesn’t require time or energy. We urge you to help in this campaign. Membership means caring and caring means future generations will enjoy the beauty and history that is the Empire Ranch.
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 send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plan to attend our Christmas at the Empire Ranch event on Saturday, December 9th from 10am to 2pm. The Empire Ranch House will be decorated for Christmas, and we have lots of fun activities planned for the day.
Click here to register for a non-profit or vendor booth. 2023 program details will be posted soon.
On May 3, 2023, middle school students from Patagonia and Elgin enjoyed Legacy Day at the Empire Ranch. They learned about reata rope braiding, horse care, adobe brick repair, roping, and range management. ERF Board members cooked up and served a great chuckwagon lunch to the students and instructors.
Two Eagle Scout candidates from Tucson troops recently completed projects on the Heritage Discovery Trail (HDT) at Empire Ranch Headquarters. Ethan Fouts, Troop 141, installed 13 bird nesting boxes in trees along the trail. Paige N. Bullis, Troop 739, constructed
and installed 10 benches in the area along the trail that formerly housed the Chiricahua Leopard frog refugia.
The 22nd annual Cowboy Festival at the Empire Ranch on November 4-5, 2023 was an outstanding success. Over 2,000 participants enjoyed the lovely Fall weather and the many activities available on both days.
Click here to view the 2023 program.
By 1879 the Empire Ranch was supporting 1,500 head of cattle and the original 1870s four-room house was no longer adequate to meet the needs of the growing operations. A building expansion was essential.
Read more about the expansion of the original Ranch House on p.2 of the June 2023 ERF Newsletter.
Over 200 film buffs enjoyed the showing of Night of the Lepus, on Saturday, September 23rd at the Historic Empire Ranch. Special thanks to the Loft Solar Cinema program for making this free event possible.
On July 22nd over 300 excited visitors attended the 2023 National Day of the Cowboy celebration that featured music and cowboy poetry, western skills demonstrations, horses, donkeys, and pack goats. Fifty riders enjoyed the trail rides on Las Cienegas National Conservation Area. Western wares and other goods were on display at the vendor and non-profit booths. The chuckwagon breakfast and lunch offerings hit the spot.
Take a free audio driving tour of the Cienega Watershed and learn about the social and cultural history, ecology, wildlife management, and conservation efforts in the watershed. Start by downloading the TravelStorys.Com App to your phone or other device. Open TravelStory and select “Tour the Cienega Watershed” to save the tour on your phone. Once you’ve download the app and the tour, no Internet access is needed.
The tour includes 21 podcast-style stories that will automatically play at the appropriate location using your phone’s GPS. The route loop includes the Gabe Zimmerman Trailhead (in Vail), Las Cienegas National Conservation Area, the Empire Ranch Headquarters, wildlife viewing and many other features along Hwy. 83 ending (or beginning) in Sonoita. And you don’t even have to drive through the watershed to enjoy the tour! You can download the tour to your computer or tablet, listen to each of the site descriptions, and view photos of the sites wherever you are!