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Memorial Day in Aravaipa Canyon – Restoration

May 27, 2016, 1:00 pm - May 30, 2016, 5:00 pm



SIA staff will already be present in Aravaipa Canyon prior to the start of this trip. We must therefore close registration for this trip at 11 PM Monday the 23rd in order to arrange the logistics of this outing (there is no phone or internet service at the site).


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 will be removing an invasive plant called vinca (or periwinkle) from the understory of the creek banks. This will require digging and fastidious removal of root material, with tools provided by Sky Island Alliance. We’ll be bending, digging, and getting dirty.

We will break into teams and work all day Saturday and Sunday to dig out vinca and install native plants. We’ll leave time in the afternoons and on Monday morning for exploring the canyon – be sure to bring a camera and your binoculars! We will depart the canyon in the early afternoon on Monday to return to Tucson by 5pm.



Aravaipa Canyon is located in the northern Galiuro Mountains and only a few miles from the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness. The Preserve is 50 miles northeast of Tucson, Arizona (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 binocoulars! For more information about the Preserve:

And a recent feature by Arizona Public Media:

Option 1:
Meet at the SIA office at 300 W. University to caravan/carpool to Aravaipa Canyon at 1pm 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 would like to meet us out there, just let us know when to expect you on Friday evening.


Directions from Tucson (3 to 3.5 hours)

1. Go east on I-10 to the Fort Grant exit (Exit 340) in Willcox, take the exit north
2. Heading north up the valley, stay on the main road (which is very curvy and sometimes
confusing, but keep going!)
3. At 17.8 miles at the stop sign take a left on Ash Creek Road towards the town of Bonita
4. At 20.7 miles at the stop sign take a right towards Bonita/Fort Grant
5. At 29.1 miles (in the small town of Bonita) at the stop sign take a left toward the tiny town of Klondyke
6. After approx. 60 miles from the Ft. Grant exit you will reach the town of Klondyke, follow the signs toward Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness
7. About 5 miles past the town of Klondyke, there will be a small sign for the Cobra Ranch on the right.
8. Continue PAST Cobra Ranch for about another 2 miles.
9. Soon you will be driving on the left side of the canyon and will be able to look down on the guest house off to the right.
10. Look for our green “SIA” and welcome signs as you approach the guesthouse driveway, on the right.

Directions from Phoenix (3 to 3.5 hours)

1. Take Hwy 60 East through Globe and continue on Hwy 70 towards Safford.
2. Approx. 7 miles after Fort Thomas (about 13 miles from Safford) you turn south (right) onto Klondyke Rd.
3. Take Klondyke Rd. approx 24 miles to Aravaipa Rd
4. Turn right, and continue through the tiny town of Klondyke
5. About 5 miles from the town of Klondyke, there will be a small sign for the Cobra Ranch on the right.
6. Continue PAST Cobra Ranch for about another 2 miles.
7. Soon you will be driving on the left side of the canyon and will be able to look down on the guest house off to the right.
8. Look for our green “SIA” and welcome signs as you approach the guesthouse driveway, on the right.
Driving conditions: While four-wheel drive and high clearance are usually not required to reach the guesthouse, creek crossings may be necessary especially after rain. We recommend taking a high clearance vehicle if you have one available. The road is a well maintained dirt road, usually passable by low clearance vehicles. There are at least two shallow creek crossings – the trick is to take it slow and easy. Please drive slowly on the dirt roads and keep an eye out for wildlife.
If we experience heavy rain, the road may become muddy and the washes that cross the road may flood. If the dry riverbeds are flowing with floodwater, take the time to wait for the water to recede (it will!) before trying to cross. Take your time, we’ll be there to greet you when you arrive!


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. Nightly campfires are a big possibility.

  • Bring your own meals for the weekend – a minimum of 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 3 dinners, with snacks.
  • Potable water is available onsite, along with communal refrigerator space.
  • Be prepared to unplug – there is no cellphone service at Aravaipa Canyon.
  • Bring work clothes and appropriate close-toed shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. You may want sandals for walking in the creek.
  • Insect repellent is a good idea this time of year!


Volunteers are required to sign our release and indemnity form once annually.  This is a family-friendly trip; let us know if you plan to bring any youngsters and any special concerns. A limited number of well-behaved dogs will be allowed – please let us know if you have a 4-legger that you’d like to bring along.

For more information, please contact Carianne Campbell at [email protected].


May 27, 2016, 1:00 pm
May 30, 2016, 5:00 pm
Event Category:


Carianne Campbell


The Nature Conservancy Guesthouse
40926-40928 Aravaipa Canal
Willcox, 85643 United States
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