Stewarding the natural and cultural resources of the Cienega Watershed of Southeastern Arizona.

Cienega Watershed Tour: Cienega Creek Natural Preserve, Rosemont Mine, Empire Ranch, Empire Gulch

Empire Ranch

Cienega Watershed Tour: Cienega Creek Natural Preserve, Rosemont Mine, Empire Ranch, Empire Gulch

March 21, 2020 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm America/Phoenix Timezone
Gabe Zimmerman/Davidson Canyon Trailhead
AZ 85641
Robert Fink, Cienega Watershed Partnership
Cienega Watershed Tour: Cienega Creek Natural Preserve, Rosemont Mine, Empire Ranch, Empire Gulch @ Gabe Zimmerman/Davidson Canyon Trailhead | Vail | Arizona | United States

Visit a well preserved, researched and loved landscape to learn and share about why this area is critical to wildlife and people. Join us on an educational tour of the beautiful Cienega Watershed. This watershed is the landscape formed by Cienega Creek, mainly lying between the Rincons, Whetstone and Santa Rita Mountains.


Numerous partners are joining to share their expert knowledge at each stop. CWP will share how our advisory members have help us to build indicators of watershed health and recommend priorities for land management.

Expect an interesting day beginning at the Gabe Zimmerman Trailhead to see the ribbon of green cottonwood revealing the location of Cienega Creek in Pima County’s Natural Preserve. 

We will then carpool to the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area, stopping to view the scenic Santa Ritas where the Rosemont Mine is proposed. 

See prairie dogs, perennial creek flows, and hear about cultural history at Empire Ranch. Possible guest speakers include experts in frog restoration and sustainable ranching techniques.

After the tour, take advantage of the area and sample delicious local wines in Elgin and Sonoita!

Be sure to:

  • RSVP.
  • Lunch, water, sunscreen, light hiking clothing, and binoculars (optional).
  • Drive in your own vehicle or join a carpool when you arrive.
  • Meet at 9:00 am at the Gabe Zimmerman Davidson Canyon Trailhead, Vail AZ, 85641 (Exit 281 from I-10, left onto AZ-83 N/S Sonoita Hwy to pass over I-10, right onto Frontage Rd/E Marsh Station Rd for 3.0 mi, Turn right into Trailhead parking lot)

9-10:30 a.m. – History and Management on the Pima County Cienega Creek Natural Preserve

Gabe Zimmerman/Davidson Canyon in the Pima County Cienega Creek Natural Preserve
Don Carter, Preserve Manager with the Pima County Natural Resources, Parks, and Recreation will share a wealth of knowledge that he has accumulated throughout his career regarding the history and natural resources of this desert riparian oasis.

11-11:45 a.m. – Rosemont Mine

Helvetia Lookout, State Route 83
Frank Postillion, Consulting Hydrologist, Chief Hydrologist; Pima County Regional Flood Control District (Retired), CWP Board of Directors, uses this vantage point overlooking your public land to illustrate expected impacts of this massive proposed resource extraction.

12:15-1:15 p.m. – Empire Ranch Headquarters Tour and Bring Your Own Lunch

Empire Ranch Headquarters on the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area
Marti Conroy, Volunteer Coordinator for the Empire Ranch Foundation, is full of enthusiasm to share her knowledge of the people and the events that shaped the history of this area throughout the last couple of centuries. Bring your own lunch and enjoy a tour of this 150-year-old adobe ranch headquarters that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

1:30-3 p.m. – Grassland Restoration, Fire, and Invasive Vegetation Management

Empire Gulch Parking Area
Keith Hughes, Natural Resources Specialist with the Bureau of Land Management, led the rehabilitation efforts after the infamous 2017 Sawmill fire consumed 47,000 acres, much of which was within the Cienega Watershed. Keith will lead a discussion on fire management, safety, and ecology in semi-desert grasslands along with efforts at invasive mesquite control.

Any questions? Need Help? Contact Robert Fink at 520-907-8810.

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