Chiricahua National Monument adds 40 more acres to site

Chiricahua National Monument adds 40 more acres to site

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Thanks to The Trust for Public Land and the National Park Service the Chiricahua National Monument has 40 more acres added to the park, this is according to a release from the National Park Service.

On Dec. 17, NPS and TPL completed the transfer of the 40 acres, located along Pinery Canyon Road, less than 500 feet from the park entrance station.  According to park officials this purchase will allow the Chiricahua NM to preserve, undeveloped, more of the gateway viewshed.  Included in the acreage is part of Erickson Ridge; historically this area was part of the land crossed by Buffalo Soldiers in the 1800s when they patrolled Pinery Canyon.

The land was originally owned by Dan Fischer, who had hoped the property would eventually become part of the National Monument; due to health conditions Fischer moved to Tucson earlier in 2014 and TPL purchased the land and held it. This was done while NPS completed necessary technical steps to ensure the parcel could be added to the national park, by extending the legal boundary to include the 40 acres.  NPS then purchased the land from TPL for the original $375,000 that TPL paid Fischer. Funds for this purchase came from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program supported by royalties from offshore oil and gas production.

"We are so grateful that The Trust for Public Land worked with us and Mr. Fischer to acquire this property and thus protect it as part of Chiricahua National Monument," said H. Lane Baker, superintendent of the NPS's Southeast Arizona Group (Chiricahua NM, Coronado National Memorial and Fort Bowie National Historic Site), in a recent release.

"Mr. Fischer wished to see his land protected as part of the national monument and it was a pleasure to work with him and the National Park Service to make this a reality," said Michael Patrick, project manager for The Trust for Public Land.

Fischer, an author, naturalist and bird photographer, once lived in a historic stone house on the property with his late wife. The house, which has been rented to employees of the park for the past five years, will continue as employee housing while the park conducts a housing assessment in 2015.

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