Arizona Land and Water Trust recently protected nearly 2,000 acres of the Red Wing Ranch in Cochise County.
Red Wing Ranch is a 10,500-acre cattle operation in the Sulphur Springs Valley, an area known for its rich biodiversity. The property is bordered to the east by the Chiricahua and Swisshelm Mountains and the Dragoon and Mule Mountains to the west.
Protection of the ranch ensures habitat for a multitude of species documented in the area, including the lesser long-nosed bat, jaguar, ocelot, Chiricahua leopard frog and the yellow-billed cuckoo. The nearby seasonally flowing streams and wetlands, including the Willcox Playa to the east and the White Water Draw to the south, provide essential corridors for wildlife and a wide variety of waterfowl, including Mexican duck and sandhill crane.
Red Wing Ranch has been owned and operated by the Riggs family for generations. The Red Wing Ranch history can be traced to Brannick and Mary Riggs, who first settled in the Sulphur Springs Valley in the late nineteenth century. The family’s settlement was, at one time, the largest single block of patented land claims in Arizona.
The ranch continues to play a vital role in the family’s long history of food production, sustainable land management and the successful Riggs Cattle Company.
“The opportunity to partner with families such as the Riggs with their deep Arizona history and to successfully protect these scenic, working landscapes like Red Wing Ranch in perpetuity are the best aspects of our ongoing work and focused efforts,” said Liz Petterson, Executive Director of Arizona Land and Water Trust.
The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Services and Arizona Community Foundation of Cochise County provided critical funding to complete this project.
With supporters, landowner and funding partners, Arizona Land and Water Trust has now protected more than 58,000 acres throughout Southern Arizona since 1978.
Arizona Land and Water Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to protecting Southern Arizona’s western landscapes, its heritage of working farms and ranches, wildlife habitat and the water that sustains them. The organization is accredited by the national Land Trust Alliance and won the Alliance’s National Land Trust Excellence Award in 2016. For more information about the Trust, visit the Trust’s website at http://alwt.org.