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Aravaipa Canyon Vinca Removal: May 7 – 9

May 7, 2021, 2:00 pm - May 9, 2021, 6:00 pm

Ready to safely get out of the house? Come join us May 7th – 9th in Aravaipa Canyon Preserve! 



Sky Island Alliance has been helping The Nature Conservancy in Aravaipa Canyon for several years on a variety of projects to increase watershed health along this perennial riparian area. Recently we’ve been working on addressing the threat of invasive periwinkle (Vinca major) throughout the canyon.During this trip we will continue our work to eradicate 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. 


To keep our volunteers and staff safe, we’re taking these precautions: 

  • Limiting the group size to 7 volunteers. If you’d like to bring kids, please contact us first. 
  • Driving separately. You can either meet us there, or caravan with us from SIA’s office. If we need to get around the preserve, we’ll carpool with windows down and masks on. 
  • Camping, and having each household bring their own food, camping gear, and cooking gear. 
  • You’ll get your own tool(s) to use for the duration of the weekend, and we’ll stay safely spaced out while working. 
  • Keep a mask handy in your pocket at all times. 
  • Working outside, of course! 
  • Wearing masks inside the bathroom, and wiping down surfaces with sanitizer after each use. 
  • Bring your own work gloves. 
  • We’ll have a thermometer available in case anyone starts feeling off. 



The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has donated the use of the Aravaipa Canyon Preserve guesthouse, nestled right along Aravaipa Creek. Because of Covid-19, we’ll all be camping, but will have access to a bathroom.  

Bring your own meals for the weekend – a minimum of 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 2 dinners, with snacks. 

  • Potable water is available onsite. 
  • 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 sandalswater shoes, or rainboots for our work in the creek. 
  • It will be cold while we are there! Please come prepared for cold nights and cool water! 

Please note that we are working at The Nature Conservancy Aravaipa Canyon 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 Canyon 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. That said, most cars can make it to the guesthouse. 

Option 1:
Meet at the SIA office at 406 S 4th Ave to caravan to Aravaipa Canyon at 2:00 pm on Friday.  

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 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 2:00 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 5:00 PM on Friday. Follow our green SIA arrow sign for the correct turnoff.
  • Saturday 8:30 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 8:30 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 6:00 PM: We will be back to our Tucson office by 6:00 PM Sunday.

We’ll plan in some time on Saturday or Sunday for you to enjoy the TNC part of the canyon also!

If you have further questions, please email Bryon Lichtenhan or Zoe Fullem at: [email protected] and [email protected]



May 7, 2021, 2:00 pm
May 9, 2021, 6:00 pm
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Sky Island Alliance
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Aravaipa Canyon – East
Aravaipa, AZ 85543 United States + Google Map