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Land Ownership in the Gila Bend Basin

Land ownership, including the percentage of ownership by category, for the Gila Bend Basin is shown in Figure 7.2-2.  Principal features of land ownership in this basin are the large areas of military and Bureau of Land Management lands. A description of land ownership data sources and methods is found in Volume 1, Appendix A.  More detailed information on protected areas is found in Section 7.0.4.  Land ownership categories are discussed below in the order of largest to smallest percentage in the basin.

U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

  • 41.7% of the land is federally owned and managed by the Lower Sonoran Office of the Bureau of Land Management.
  • BLM Land in this basin includes 238,700 acres of the 487,000 acre Sonoran Desert National Monument and 49,000 acres of the 64,000 acre Woolsey Peak Wilderness. (See Figure 7.0-12)
  • Land uses include resource conservation, recreation and grazing.

U.S. Military

  • 33.5% of the land is federally owned and managed by the U.S. Military as the Barry Goldwater Air Force Range.
  • Primary land use is military activity.


  • 15.7% of the land is private.
  • The majority of the private land is in the center of the basin in the vicinity of Gila Bend, Highway 89 and Interstate 8.
  • Land uses include domestic, commercial and ranching.

State Trust Land

  • 6.2% of the land is held in trust for the public schools under the State Trust Land system.
  • Primary land use is grazing.

Indian Reservation

  • 2.8% of the land is under tribal ownership including all of the Gila Bend Indian Reservation and a small portion of the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation.  Both are part of the Tohono O’odham Nation
  • Land uses include agriculture, domestic and grazing.

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

  • 0.1% of the land is owned by Maricopa County.
  • County land is located on the northern basin boundary and is managed as the Buckeye Hills County Park.
  • Primary land use is recreation.



Click here for Figure 7.2-2

Table 7.2-2 Gila Bend Basin Land Ownership



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References and Supplemental Reading for the Gila Bend Basin

Colorado River
Lower Colorado River Planning Area
Click to download Volume 7
Gillespie Dam
Agriculture near Town of Gila Bend