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Land Ownership in the Agua Fria Basin

Land ownership, including the percentage of ownership by category, for the Agua Fria Basin is shown in Figure 5.1-2.  Principal features of land ownership in this basin are the diversity of land ownership types and the large contiguous parcels of forest service lands. A description of land ownership data sources and methods is found in Volume 1, Appendix A.  More detailed information on National Parks, Monuments and Wilderness Areas is found in Section 5.0.4.  Land ownership categories are discussed below from largest to smallest percentage in the basin.

National Forest

  • 46.7% of the land is federally owned and managed by the United States Forest Service (USFS). 
  • Forest lands in the basin are part of the Prescott and Tonto National Forests.
  • The basin contains two wilderness areas, the 25,536-acre Castle Creek Wilderness and the 20,100-acre Pine Mountain Wilderness. Both areas are in the Prescott National Forest. (see Figure 5.0-13)
  • There are numerous small private in-holdings in the Prescott National Forest.
  • National forest land is located in the northern, eastern and western portions of the basin, divided by Interstate 17 and other land Land uses include recreation, grazing and timber production.

U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

  • 28.8% of the land is federally owned and managed by the Hassayampa Field Office of the BLM.
  • Most BLM lands are interspersed with private and state trust lands in the southern and central portions of the basin.
  • BLM lands include 71,000 acres of the Agua Fria National Monument. 
  • Primary land uses are recreation and grazing.
Click to view Figure 5.1-2

Click for Figure 5.1-2 Agua Fria Basin Land Ownership

State Trust Land

  • 14.6% of the land in this basin is held in trust for the public schools and four other beneficiaries under the State Trust Land system.
  • State land is interspersed with private and BLM lands and is found in the southern and north-central portions of the basin.
  • Primary land use is grazing.


  • 7.1% of the land is private.
  • Private land is found throughout the basin with the majority of the private land interspersed with state trust, national forest and BLM lands.
  • The largest contiguous area of private lands is in the vicinity of Castle Hot Springs.
  • Land uses include domestic, commercial and ranching.

Other (Game and Fish, County and Bureau of Reclamation Lands)

  • 2.6% of the land is owned and managed by two counties.
  • The largest portion of “other” land is owned and managed by Maricopa County as the Lake Pleasant Regional Park.  This park is located at the southernmost tip of the basin.
  • A small portion of land northeast of Cordes Junction is owned by Yavapai County, its use is unknown.
  • Primary land use at the Lake Pleasant Regional Park is recreation.


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References and Supplemental Reading for the Agua Fria Basin

Colorado River Central Highlands Planning Area Download entire Central Highlands Planning Area Atlas in pdf Agua Fria River Lake Pleasant