Gateway to Chiricahua National Monument Protected

December 18, 2014
Wilcox, Arizona

The protection of 40 acres that will preserve the natural beauty of the main entrance of Chiricahua National Monument has been successfully completed, The Trust for Public Land announced today.

Dan Fischer, longtime landowner, had wanted to protect this property as part of the monument. A naturalist, bird photographer, and author, he and his wife lived in a historic stone house located on the property for over twenty years. Moving to Tucson after the loss of his wife and with his own health concerns, Fischer dreamed that this land could be part of Chiricahua National Monument.

It's easy to see why. It is located on Pinery Canyon Road and fully visible from the monument's public entrance station, located less than 500 feet away. It also includes Erickson Ridge, a prominent natural feature. With easy access from the park road, the National Park Service (NPS) was concerned that the property would be bought and converted for commercial completely out of character with the natural setting of the monument.

Fischer said, "Chiricahua National Monument has many resources of biodiversity including geologic and cultural features that represent an important component of the Sky Islands of southeastern Arizona. It is a great privilege to join with those who have gone before us in recognizing the values of this magnificent national treasure and to partner with the National Park Service and The Trust for Public Land in this expansion of Chiricahua."

NPS and The Trust for Public Land worked with Fischer, and The Trust for Public Land purchased the home and surrounding land earlier this year, while NPS expanded the boundary of Chiricahua National Monument to include the 40-acre property.

"Chiricahua National Monument lets the public experience the amazing Chiricahua Mountains and the gateway to the monument was critical to protecting the visitors' first impressions, and experience of entering this special place," said Michael Patrick, project manager for The Trust for Public Land. "Mr. Fischer wished to see his land protected as part of the national monument and it was a pleasure to work with him and the National Park Service to make this a reality."

"We are so grateful that The Trust for Public Land worked with us and Mr. Fischer to acquire this property and thus protect it as part of Chiricahua National Monument," said H. Lane Baker, Superintendent of Chiricahua National Monument.

The house, which has been rented to employees of the monument for the past five years, will continue to be used for employee housing.

The Trust for Public Land purchased the property from Fischer for $375,000 and sold it to the National Park Service for the same price. NPS purchased the property using funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a federal program that is supported by offshore oil and gas royalties.

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year.