Adopt-A-Ranch Program shows that collaborative conservation works

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November 24th, 2008

Two ranch improvement projects conducted in early November as part of the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Adopt-A-Ranch Program illustrate how various groups can come together in a win-win for private landowners, the recreating public and wildlife conservation.

The Adopt-A-Ranch Program is a cooperative effort between Game and Fish, landowners and volunteers across the state to complete projects that improve ranch land while enhancing wildlife habitat or recreational access for the public. The program has helped relations between landowners and people who wish to recreate on those private lands.

On Nov. 8, 18 volunteers from the Arizona Trail Riders Club (ATR), eight people from the Williams Family Ranch, and personnel from Game and Fish worked together to install a culvert on the Constellation Road at Slim Jim Wash north of Wickenburg, Ariz.. The road, mainly used by ranchers, is an access point to many hunting and recreational areas.

During the heavy rains of 1993, the wash severely cut the road; since then, traffic has detoured down into the wash. With the culvert installed, the roadbed can be built back up to its original level, eliminating the hole that vehicles were forced to drop down into and then climb back out of. The culvert will protect the road from future storms and enhance vehicular access for the ranchers and the public.

This is the second annual Adopt-A-Ranch project the ATR has done on the Williams Family Ranch, owned and operated by Roy and Carrol Williams. The work done by the dirt bike riders club has not only benefited the Williams Family Ranch but also neighboring ranches and the public.

A second Adopt-A-Ranch project occurred on Nov. 9, when an off-highway vehicle club from Sierra Vista helped repair a windmill, install two gates, and build onto a corral at the Lucky Hills Ranch, near Tombstone.

Funding for the Arizona Game and Fish Department Adopt-A-Ranch programs and projects comes from the Heritage Fund, which was established in 1990 by Arizona voters to further conservation efforts in the state. Funding for the Heritage Fund comes from Arizona Lottery sales.

If you are a landowner who would like to participate in the Adopt-A-Ranch program, or a volunteer group that would like to help out, contact Troy Christensen at the Arizona Game and Fish Department at (623) 236-7492 or tchristensen@azgfd.gov.

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