By Georgie Wood
Like so many rancher families, the Fred and Cliff Wood families had experienced both good and bad times when they had their Wood Brothers Panorama Ranch whose headquarters was located along the western end of Aravaipa Creek in Pinal County, Arizona The children of both families had also taken part in the hard work involved, and the memories of those earlier years are treasured.
Many changes concerning Aravaipa Creek and some of its residents had started in the 1960s. Aravaipa Canyon had become more well-known because of the publicity to “save it”, so many people wanted to come to the canyon, and those who had come through the west end had to first go through our ranch homesite along the creek to see the inner canyon, known as the Box, which wasn’t far upstream of our home. In 1966, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wanted the inner canyon to be set aside as a Natural Scenic Recreation Area, and then in 1969 the over five-thousand acre Aravaipa Canyon Primitive Area was established, and BLM’s plan was to coordinate recreation, grazing, and other public uses, besides wildlife management.
Naturally, our lives were really affected, so in 1970 we sold our ranch to The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the national conservation organization who claimed their primary objective was to acquire and protect outstanding natural areas. It was in 1978 that Wilderness designation of the Aravaipa Primitive Area and contiguous lands had been recommended.
I have often wondered what our lives would have been like if we hadn’t sold our ranch when we did. For those who are interested in learning about some of the history of Aravaipa Canyon and some of the people who had lived there, read my 2014 published book A CREEKSIDE STORY – FROM BUCKBOARD DAYS TO ECOTOURISM. It can be obtained via Amazon, and I really appreciate the comments about my book on Amazon by some who had bought my book via Amazon and read it.