The BLM completes land acquisition to improve conservation, wildlife habitat, recreation access in Southeast Arizona
SAFFORD, Ariz. – Today, the Bureau of Land Management acquired 2,831 acres of privately owned land northeast of the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness, known as the Cross F Ranch, which will open access to 30,000 acres of formerly inaccessible BLM managed public lands. The BLM purchased the property from the Trust for Public Land. Additional supporting partners include the U.S. Forest Service, Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Nature Conservancy. This project will be managed by the BLM’s Safford Field Office.
“Partnerships like this support the BLM’s ongoing efforts to increase recreational access and improve and protect wildlife habitat,” said Safford Field Manager Scott Cooke. “We are excited about the increased recreational and conservation opportunities this acquisition provides near the Aravaipa Canyon and Santa Teresa Wilderness areas.”
This project supports the Biden-Harris administration’s “America the Beautiful,” which is a decade-long challenge to pursue a locally led and voluntary, nationwide effort to conserve, connect, and restore the lands, waters, and wildlife upon which we all depend. The land acquisition was completed using the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which supports the protection of federal public lands and waters – including national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and recreation areas – and voluntary conservation on private land. The LWCF also improves and protects wildlife corridors for mule deer, white-tailed deer, desert big horn sheep, black bear and Gould’s turkey. Investments through the LWCF secure public access, improve recreational opportunities and preserve ecosystem benefits for local communities.
The lands acquired provide important linkages between BLM-managed lands in the Galiuro and Santa Teresa Mountain areas, including Aravaipa Canyon and the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness, and U.S. Forest Service lands in the Santa Teresa Mountains, including the Santa Teresa Wilderness, as well as intermingled Arizona State Trust lands. The BLM released the proposed acquisition for a 30-day public comment period in March 2021. The finding of no significant impacts and record of decision were signed in May 2021.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.