Kelly Vaughn

In early November, the Bureau of Land Management acquired 2,831 acres of privately owned land, the Cross F Ranch, which is located northeast of the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness. Now, 30,000 acres of previously inaccessible land will be opened to recreation and conservation efforts and will provide important links between BLM lands in the Galiuro and Santa Teresa Mountains, including Aravaipa Canyon and the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness.

“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 in a press release issued November 1. “We are excited about the increased recreational and conservation opportunities this acquisition provides near the Aravaipa Canyon and Santa Teresa Wilderness areas.”

Currently, the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness stretches across 19,410 acres. With Aravaipa Creek as a source of nourishment, the wilderness is known for its abundance of sycamore, cottonwood and willow trees. Bighorn sheep, coatimundis and more wildlife are also abundant in the canyon, which can only be hiked — whether on a daypack or an overnight backpack — by obtaining permits from the BLM.