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Aravaipa Canyon Vinca Removal: Memorial Day Weekend

May 24, 2019, 2:30 pm - May 27, 2019, 6:00 pm



Sky Island Alliance has been helping TNC and the BLM in Aravaipa Canyon for several years on a variety of projects to increase watershed health along this perennial riparian area. During this trip we are continuing our work to eradicate the invasive plant vinca (or periwinkle) from the riparian understory of the creek banks. This will require digging and fastidious removal of vegetative material and roots with tools provided by Sky Island Alliance. We’ll be bending, cutting, digging, getting dirty, and getting wet. We will be working to clear vinca right along the banks of the creek, meaning that we will be wading in and out of the water throughout each day. This work is part of our long-term goal of removing vinca from the entire canyon!




The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has donated the use of the Aravaipa Canyon Preserve guesthouse, nestled right along Aravaipa Creek. TNC’s Aravaipa Canyon Preserve guesthouse has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, with showers and a full kitchen (with basic implements). There is also a screened sleeping porch, and a bunkhouse with two rooms with beds. You may choose to sleep on a bed (bring your own comfy bedding) or camp under the stars in your tent. Beds will be first-come/first serve, unless you let us know that you need to have priority, and there are no single-occupancy rooms available.

  • Bring your own meals for the weekend – a minimum of 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 2 dinners, with snacks.
  • Potable water is available onsite, along with communal refrigerator space.
  • Be prepared to unplug – there is no cellphone or internet service at Aravaipa Canyon.
  • Bring work clothes and appropriate close-toed shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty and wet. You will also want sandals, water shoes, or muck-type boots for our work in the creek.

Please note that we are working at The Nature Conservancy Aravaipa Preserve, NOT in the BLM Aravaipa Wilderness Area. You may not enter the BLM Wilderness Area without a permit (available here: https://www.recreation.gov/). Visitors to the Wilderness Area are carefully managed to protect the wildlife and other natural resources; unauthorized visitation to the Wilderness Area puts SIA’s relationships in jeopardy and will not be tolerated. Don’t worry, though – there is plenty of beautiful creek to explore at the TNC Aravaipa Preserve!


Aravaipa Canyon is located in the northern Galiuro Mountains and only a few miles from the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness. The Preserve is only 50 miles northeast of Tucson, Arizona as the bird flies (approximately 3 to 3.5 hours drive from Tucson or Phoenix). “Not only does the ranch sit over the main aquifer that supplies Aravaipa Creek, it’s also an important corridor for wildlife traveling from the Galiuro Mountains to the Santa Teresa Mountains,” says the Preserve’s manager, Mark Haberstich. With over 10 miles of perennial water, Aravaipa Canyon is a rare riparian jewel in southern Arizona; it is an important tributary to the Lower San Pedro River. We always see a variety of wildlife in Aravaipa Canyon, you will want to have your binoculars! For more information about the Preserve:

We will be working on the EAST SIDE of the canyon, at the headwaters of the perennial creek.


During monsoon season, a high-clearance vehicle is strongly encouraged. There are 2-3 wet wash crossings (yes, there is perennial water!) before arriving at the guesthouse.

Option 1:
Meet at the SIA office at 406 S 4th Ave to caravan/carpool to Aravaipa Canyon at 2:30 pm on Friday. We have limited room for passengers in vehicles – please let us know ahead of time if you need a ride so we can ensure space for everyone (or if you’d like to drive your personal vehicle and have space for a passenger).

We will head east on 1-10 toward Willcox (and a bathroom break) before heading off toward the northwest for the canyon. The last 40 miles or so are on a well-maintained dirt road.

Option 2: 
If you have been there before and would like to meet us out there, just let us know when to expect you on Friday evening.

From Tucson: (155 miles) Take I-10 east to Willcox exit 340. Turn left onto Fort Grant Road and go north 30 miles to Bonita. Turn left onto Klondyke Road and go 32 miles to Klondyke. Preserve entrance is seven miles past Klondyke. The last 38 miles is a gravel road and subject to closure during wet weather.

From Phoenix: (190 miles) Take Highway 60 east to Globe, then U.S. 70 south to Fort Thomas. Travel eight miles past Fort Thomas and turn right onto Klondyke Road. Travel 28 miles to Klondyke. Preserve entrance is seven miles past Klondyke. The last 38 miles is a gravel road and subject to closure during wet weather.


  • Friday 2:30 PM: Meet with SIA staff at our office to carpool to the TNC Guesthouse.
  • Friday 6:00 PM: If you would like to meet SIA at the guesthouse, you may arrive after 6:00 PM on Friday. Follow our green SIA arrow sign for the correct turnoff.
  • Saturday 8:00 AM: Be prepared to go over the day’s work and head out. We will work throughout the day with a break for lunch.
  • Sunday 8:00 AM: Be prepared to go over the day’s work and head out. We will work throughout the day with a break for lunch.
  • Monday 6:00 PM: Monday will be our day to play and explore a bit before lunch. After lunch we will pack up and head back home. We will be back to our Tucson office by 6:00 PM Monday.

This is a family-friendly trip; let us know if you plan to bring any youngsters and if you have any special concerns.

A limited number of well-behaved dogs are allowed on this trip. If you would like to bring your furry friend, please notify Bryon about your plans and make sure that we can accommodate you.

If you have further questions, please email Bryon Lichtenhan at: [email protected]



May 24, 2019, 2:30 pm
May 27, 2019, 6:00 pm
Event Category:


Bryon Lichtenhan


Aravaipa Canyon – East
Aravaipa, AZ 85543 United States + Google Map