Elkhorn Ranch lies southwest of Tucson, Arizona in the foothills of the Baboquivari Mountains. Riding country stretches from the Sonoran Desert grasslands past majestic saguaro cacti high into the pine forests known as “sky islands”. Mule and white-tail deer, bobcat, mountain lion, javelina, coati and ring-tail cat inhabit the area plus many local and migratory birds. The biological richness of the area, interpreted beautifully at Tucson’s Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, thrives here at Elkhorn Ranch.
Caring for the land is a critical part of ranching life. Economic success and livestock health depend on a carefully managed grazing program. The Millers work with the US Natural Resource Conservation Service to scientifically monitor range vegetation density and diversity and do stewardship projects. These practices also support wildlife and plant biodiversity that thrives here.
The Altar Valley is truly a working landscape where agricultural business, eco-tourism and stewardship of the natural world compliment each other — a place where you can experience real-life conservation in action.
ALTAR VALLEY CONSERVATION ALLIANCE
Since 1995, local ranchers have worked collaboratively as the Altar Valley Conservation Alliance to care for the 600,000 plus acre watershed surrounding Elkhorn Ranch. Prescribed fire and erosion control projects help improve watershed stability and productivity. The valley is home to the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge as well as over 200,000 acres of ranch land that is part of Pima County’s conservation land system.
RENEWABLE ENERGY — SOLAR & WIND
Elkhorn Ranch conserves on the home front too, through use of solar and wind where we can. Windmills pump livestock water and solar panels pump a remote livestock well that also fills a wildlife watering hole developed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. In 2012, solar hot water heaters and a 22 kW solar electric generation system were added — plus a solar system has heated the swimming pool for years. Green hospitality practices include use of compact florescent lightbulbs, weekly bed linen changes and two towel changes per week to conserve water and electricity (with more or less service provided upon request). Electric wall heaters enable guests to use as much or little heat as needed to be cozy.