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Aravaipa Canyon
Ecosystem Management Plan
Fall 2015

Aravaipa CanyonThe Bureau of Land Management, Safford Field Office has finalized a Decision Record for the Aravaipa Canyon Ecosystem Management Plan and revised Environmental Assessment.  The Final Plan is the result of a collaborative effort between the BLM, Arizona Game and Fish Department and The Nature Conservancy that stretches back a decade.  The collaborative approach recognizes common management issues between the three organizations and maximizes opportunities for efficiency and consistency.

A stunning example of a desert canyon and riparian ecosystem, Aravaipa Canyon is located 50 miles west of Safford, Arizona in Graham and Pinal Counties. The planning area includes the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness, surrounding BLM public lands and private lands owned and administered by The Nature Conservancy of Arizona.   In total, the planning area includes 69,609 acres of public lands and 7,802 of private land.

A downloadable version of all final planning documents can be found on BLM’s ePlanning site.

Aravaipa Canyon Ecosystem Management Plan

Frequently Asked Questions 

Documents & Maps (ePlanning) 

Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness Area & Permit System

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Planning Area

Aravaipa Creek is a tributary of the San Pedro River. The creek’s 22-mile-long perennial reach supports a nearly intact example of the one of the rarest remaining habitats in the Southwest: the riparian cottonwood-willow gallery forest. The stream itself supports one of the last remaining assemblages of desert fishes in Arizona, with seven native species including two -spikedace and loach minnow - federally listed as threatened species. The riparian forest and surrounding uplands support rare wildlife such as the threatened Mexican spotted owl and western yellow-billed cuckoo.

The Wilderness was given formal protection by the United States Congress in the Arizona Wilderness Act of 1984. The Aravaipa Canyon area can be enjoyed by up to 18,250 visitors per year, with a limit of 50 people per day within the canyon itself.

About the Decision

The Final Ecosystem Management Plan will enable the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to improve its management of the Aravaipa Management Area. The Environmental Assessment analyzes the impacts expected from implementing the Aravaipa Ecosystem Management Plan. Based on this analysis, the Finding of No Significant Impact determines that impacts are not expected to be significant. The Record of Decision documents the BLM’s final decision and rationale.

Aravaipa Ecosystem Management Plan Vision

The shared vision of the Aravaipa Ecosystem planning team (BLM, The Nature Conservancy and Arizona Game and Fish Department) is to sustain or restore natural ecological processes, viable native species populations, healthy biological communities, significant cultural resources, and outstanding wilderness values while providing for compatible levels of human use and maintaining lifestyles that emphasize living in harmony with the ecosystem. This will be achieved through cooperative management efforts based on the best available knowledge. Regular monitoring of resource conditions and human use levels will be integrated with all areas of management, and management direction will regularly incorporate new insights gained from the monitoring results.

Providing Input

The Decision Record and Environmental Assessment are subject to appeal in accordance with procedures contained in the 43 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 4. Implementation of this plan will not begin until 30 days after the date of Notice of Availability letter.

For more information, please contact the Safford Field Office, 711 S. 14th Ave., Safford, AZ 85546 by mail,  by phone at (928)348-4400 or by email at

  Safford Field Office
711 14th Avenue
Safford, AZ 85546-3337
Phone: (928) 348-4400
Fax: (928) 348-4450
Field Manager:  Scott Cooke
Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., M-F