The Empire Ranch, built by Walter Vail and family, was one of the most financially successful and long-lived cattle enterprises in Arizona. For over 140 years, the owners of the Empire wisely managed its natural resources – soils, waters, and vegetation in the Cienega Valley. Today those grasslands are some of the richest and most stunningly beautiful in this state. This talk will present the story of how those ranchers survived flood, drought, and economic challenges and how the Bureau of Land Management and its partners work to protect and preserve the historic ranch and those landscapes for you today.
Robin Pinto studies the evolution of cultural landscapes in Arizona and focuses on four issues of historic change: early settlement and homesteading, the New Deal and federal work programs, ranching on public lands, and the arrival and development of our national parks. She has an MLA and PhD from the University of Arizona. She writes historical landscape assessments and administrative histories for the NPS including Fort Bowie NHS, Chiricahua and Organ Pipe Cactus NM, and Saguaro NP and works with the BLM Heritage Technical Team to study landscape change at the Empire Ranch and Cienega Creek watershed.