Wildlife Corridors, LLC (WC) updated some 70 attendees on recent developments at the Borderlands Wildlife Preserve in a meeting at Cady Hall in early February. The group sought participation in planning for responsible recreational use of the land adjacent to the protected corridor.

WC Managing Partner Ron Pulliam showed a series of before and after slides pertaining to the Three Canyons Subdivision. 189 residential building lots had originally been approved for this subdivision northeast of Patagonia. An important wildlife corridor, identified a decade ago in a study conducted by Northern Arizona University and funded by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, is situated in the middle of the proposed development It is used by a variety of wild animals to move between the Santa Rita and Huachuca Mountains. 

Pulliam explained that after the bank took ownership of the property, a small group of investors formed Wildlife Corridors, LLC and bought the subdivision in 2014 with the intent of setting aside most of the 1345 acres as a protected wildlife corridor. The company took out a sizable mortgage on the property and identified 24 of the original lots to sell in order to repay the mortgage. The former Three Canyons subdivision was renamed Wildlife Haven. To date, about half of the available lots have been sold.

While the company is intent on minimizing the human impact on the preserve, it wants to encourage responsible use of the adjacent property for recreation and demonstration of sound ecological restoration practices. He clarified that dogs are allowed on the roads running through the property but not on the loop trail. Likewise, horses are not permitted on the loop trail but may use another trail that crosses the property. A kiosk has been installed near the new entrance to the property that will soon display maps and text that will orient visitors to the preserve, the residential area and the buffer zone separating them.

During his talk, Pulliam showed photos of some of the animals captured by cameras placed adjacent to each of the three dripping stations the company has installed in Smith Canyon. He estimated that roughly 70,000 images have been have captured over the past few years and called for volunteers who would like to get involved with efforts to establish and maintain a data system to document and report on the wildlife activity in the corridor.

After laying out the history of the project and the importance of protecting the corridor, Pulliam called on Lynn Davison, President of Borderlands Restoration Network (BRN), who explained how that nonprofit entity had been created to coordinate the work of four partner entities. The partners are Borderlands Restoration, L3C, a social limited profit company; Cuenca Los Ojos, a nonprofit binational organization specializing in protecting wild areas and restoring degraded ranchland; Deep Dirt Farm Institute, a teaching and demonstration farm that utilizes permaculture practices; and Wildlife Corridors, LLC.

Francesca Claverie, BRN’s Manager of Native Plants, spoke about a project currently underway to plant agaves throughout the corridor as well as on other properties. Lily Christopher then described restoration work being carried out within the corridor by high school youth. Chris Strohm, leader of the trail building crew known as the Dirtbags, described the crew’s work over the last several years, including creation of the two-mile Smith Canyon Loop Trail which traverses both ridges that form Smith Canyon and asked for volunteers to join the group.

Anyone who would like information about Wildlife Corridors or any of the BRN-related organizations is invited to contact Kate Peake, BRN Communications and Development Officer, at kpeake@borderlandsrestoration.org or (520) 216-4148