Size: 850 acres
Location: Cibola County
Eco-Region: Arizona-New Mexico Mountains, Southern Shortgrass Prairie
Conservation Values: Agriculture, Scenic Open Space, Wildlife Habitat
Type of Project: Donated Conservation Easement
Date Completed: December 2012
The El Morro Valley Property is nestled against the foothills of the Zuni Mountains about 10 miles east of the town of Ramah. The majority of the ranch consists of southern shortgrass prairie on the valley bottom, with piñon-juniper forest appearing as the property climbs into the Zuni foothills. The El Morro Valley Property provides organic, grassfed beef to the local community while continuing the tradition of agriculture in the El Morro Valley. The valley has a long history of human occupancy, stretching from the Anasazi period to Spanish conquest to homesteaders during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Significant ruins from the late Zuni period exist throughout the valley, including a few sites very close to the easement property. In addition to these historical and agricultural values, the ranch contributes to the scenic nature of El Morro Valley and the quality of its wildlife habitat. The ranch is adjacent to the Cibola National Forest and is visible from nearby El Morro National Monument, both popular destinations for visitors. Mule deer, elk, black bear, cougar, bobcat, gray fox, black-tail jackrabbit, desert cottontail, and turkey are just a few of the species that call the property home. The ranch’s owner is dedicated to the protection of the El Morro Valley and its many cultural and natural resources. The conservation of this property in the El Morro Valley is an exciting step towards NMLC’s continued work in northwestern New Mexico.