Friday, January 10, 2014

BLM hopes to buy private parcels in Agua Fria monument

With thousands of acres of private parcels inside the Agua Fria National Monument, U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials are excited about finalizing an effort to buy two 40-acre parcels that were on the market for possible development. The BLM is now preparing to analyze potential impacts of the Cross Y Ranch purchase, and is seeking public comments by Friday. The ranch includes four parcels. BLM officials would like to purchase more of the ranch in the future, except for 97 acres that contain buildings. Remaining parcels are 621 acres and 1,278 acres in size. "It's a really scenic and beautiful area," Monument Manager Amanda James said. She recently visited the two 40-acre parcels on Black Mesa that feature part of the historic sheep driveway that runs from the Valley of the Sun to cooler northern summer grazing lands. The ranch parcels also include substantial water rights, nearly one mile of the Agua Fria River, more than two miles of Squaw Creek, wildlife migratory corridors, one of the densest stands of saguaro cacti in the country, and cultural resources such as pueblo ruins and petroglyphs. Some of the parcels are surrounded by the monument, while others sit along the southern edge...more

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