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, August 18th from 8am to noon. To volunteer, please submit a Volunteer Opportunities Form, and we will contact you with more details!
To celebrate the 140th anniversary of the founding of the Empire Ranch ERF has republished Edward L. Vail’s Diary of a Desert Trail, illustrated by photos from ERF’s archives and other library collections. Vail first shared the colorful story of the 1890 cattle drive from the Empire Ranch to California’s Warner’s Ranch through a series of articles in the Arizona Daily Star in 1922.
Vail and Tom Turner, six cowboys of Mexican descent, and one Chinese cook, drove 900 cattle over 500 miles through the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and California and across the Colorado River. The story, based on a diary kept by Vail during the two month and ten day trip, recounts their adventures and hardships including stampedes, the scarcity of water and feed, the arrest of two horse thieves, difficulties crossing the Colorado River, and an unwelcome tax collector.
Copies ($15) can be purchased from the ERF gift shop at the Empire Ranch or from Amazon.