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Land Ownership in the Cienega Creek Basin

Land ownership, including the percentage of ownership in each category, is shown for the Cienega Creek Basin in Figure 3.3-2.   Principal features of land ownership are the national forest lands along the boundaries of the basin and relatively large portions of contiguous private and state trust 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 3.0.4.  Land ownership categories are discussed below in the order from largest to smallest percentage in the basin.

National Forest

  • 40.7% of land is federally owned and managed by the United States Forest Service (USFS). 

  • All forest lands in the basin, although they are not contiguous, are in the Coronado National Forest.  There are two ranger districts in the basin, Nogales Ranger District and Sierra Vista Ranger District.

  • A portion of the Mt. Wrightson Wilderness area is located in T19S and T20S, R15E. (see Figure 3.0-12)

  • Primary land uses are grazing, recreation and timber production.


  • 24.2% of land is private.

  • Most private land in the basin is contiguous and located in the vicinity of the three principal basin communities of Sonoita, Patagonia and Elgin.

  • A number of private land in-holdings exist in national forest land in the Nogales Ranger District west of Patagonia and in the southern portion of the Sierra Vista Ranger District east of Patagonia.

  • Primary land uses are domestic, ranching and farming.

Click to view Figure 3.3-2

Click for Figure 3.3-2 Cienega Creek Basin Land Ownership

State Trust

  • 23.3% of land in this basin is held in trust for public schools, penitentiaries and state charitable penal reform.

  • The majority of the state land ownership is contiguous, but there are a number of small isolated parcels in the southern portion of the basin.

  • Primary land use is grazing. 

U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

  • 11.8% of land is federally owned and managed by the Safford Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management.

  • The majority of the BLM land in this basin is within the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area, a 42,000 acre area north and east of Sonoita along Cienega Creek.

  • Primary land uses are recreation and grazing.


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