August 2020
The Land Connection
news from Desert Foothills Land Trust
It's safe to say that this year has been anything but “usual” for many of us. The pandemic has impacted almost all aspects of our lives. During this time of heightened stress and anxiety, stay-at-home orders, social distancing, and the never ending schedules of zoom meetings, the respite provided by simple things like a walk in the outdoors has proven to be more important than ever. The current situation can serve as a reminder for just how important protecting our nature can be, not only for the health of the environment and wildlife, but also for our own well-being.

Despite this new world of uncertainty, we are thrilled to have some good news to share. Our conservation work remains steadfast, and so does our assurance to provide opportunities for you to truly connect to nature. From exciting new land protection projects to unique online learning opportunities, we are thrilled to be navigating through the sea of uncertainty with great outcomes. Please, read below to learn about some of the new and exciting happenings. Most importantly, be well.

Vicki Preston
Executive Director
Path to Connect
connecting people to nature
The "Carefree" path to better health
Who isn't looking for a safe place to go just to get out of the house right now? With the help of local healthcare professionals and the town of Carefree, the Land Trust has instituted a new program to help our community find their own path to get outdoors and enjoy nature.
Knowing how important spending time outdoors is for our overall physical and mental well-being, the Land Trust has created the Prescription for Nature program. Championing the program are local healthcare providers, Carefree Physical Therapy, Just Breathe Pilates, Sterling Structural Therapy, and Dr. Fabio of Integrative Healing & Wellness. The program is designed to promote the health benefits of connecting to nature through outdoor activity in a safe environment that’s suitable to each individual’s physical abilities and healthcare goals. With that in mind, the first in the series of trails included in the program are those at a level of comfort suitable for most. As the program grows, more local trails will be added at varying levels of difficulty, from barrier free (easiest) to physically challenging (extremely difficult) so that everyone can find a path to suit their needs.
We invite you to check out one of our first Prescription for Nature trails located in the center of Carefree at the Carefree Desert Gardens. Just look for the new “trail head” sign, compliments of the town of Carefree, to get started on your path to better health.
To learn more about the program and trails check out our website at If you are a healthcare professional and would like to participate in the program please contact Mary at or call 480-488-6131 x201.
Desert Encounters -
a virtual education series coming soon!

The Sonoran Desert is a unique and wondrous place. There is so much we can learn from the natural habitat of our region - about the wildlife that dwell here, the vegetation that can grow in such a harsh climate, the formation of this awe-inspiring landscape, and how prior generations of people once lived in this desolate place. While spending time in nature can be truly satisfying, learning more about our natural surroundings and the history can deepen our appreciation of it even more. During this time with so many students, of all ages, spending more time seeking virtual education on a variety of subjects the Land Trust has been working on some virtual education offerings about the Sonoran Desert. The series will be ongoing, easily accessed on our website and will eventually include videos, crafts, tutorials and educational articles for people of all ages. So stay tuned for the first of the Desert Encounters series coming soon on our website at

A Force for Nature
local and national wins for conservation
A Piece of Cave Creek History
Further Protected Trough Partnership
Visitors at the Sierra Vista Ranch - Photo coutersey of the Cave Creek Museum
Years ago, guests from all over the country would take the opportunity to explore the Sonoran Desert by visiting the iconic Sierra Vista Guest Ranch. Comprised of 400 acres and tucked high into the hills of the Continental Mountains, it was Cave Creek's second dude ranch and it operated from the early 1940's to 1962. Sierra Vista Guest Ranch accommodated up to 15 guests in its rustic wooden cabins and lodge, was home to a spring fed swimming pool, and afforded guests the opportunity to explore the area on horseback in search of mining and archaeological artifacts. In 1962, the guest ranch was closed and then used as a private residence, but evidence of the old guest ranch still remained.

Over the last decade, Desert Foothills Land Trust worked with the landowners to establish conservation easements to forever protect 135 acres of the historic ranch – a great conservation success. Most recently, as a bequest to the Land Trust, the underlying fee property was gifted to them as well – an even bigger conservation success. Now, owning the land, the Land Trust sought out a partner to help maintain and co-steward the conservation easements, but they didn't need to look too far. 

The rich history of this beautiful property, for years, has been carefully preserved by our good friends at the Cave Creek Museum. Numerous photos and historical, mining, and archaeological artifacts from the Sierra Vista Guest Ranch are housed at the Cave Creek Museum. Preserving the history of this property is just as important as protecting the land itself. Jointly, the Land Trust and the Museum will monitor this land, provide guided tours and other unique opportunities, and celebrate this great partnership far into the future. 

Keep an eye out for future opportunities, hosted by the Land Trust and the Museum, to experience the history of this gem. To learn more about the Sierra Vista Guest Ranch, plan a visit to the Cave Creek Museum where you can view items from their collections, watch a demo of a stamp mill which used to reside near the ranch, and check out all of the rich history of the Foothills area that has been forever protected.
The Great American Outdoors Act - a monumental win for land conservation and outdoor recreation
An historic dream has come true for conservationists! On August 4, 2020, President Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act into law. This landmark bill passed through the Senate on June 17 by a vote of 73-25 and went on to pass through the House of Representatives in a bipartisan 310 -107 vote on July 22. A huge win for the American people.

The legislation includes elements from two previous bills, the Restore Our Parks Act and the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act, and is strongly supported by national conservation organizations such as the Land Trust Alliance, the National Parks Conservation Association, the League of Conservation Voters, and The Nature Conservancy.

The conservation community has been seeking full and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund for over 50 years. Since its inception in 1965 the LWCF has only been fully funded once. As part of the LWCF the Great American Outdoor Act will allocate $900 million annually in perpetuity to conserve our parks and public lands. These funds have been used in the past to purchase and protect vulnerable lands.

Further, this legislation will provide $9.5 billion for maintenance at our national parks, refuges, and forest service lands. As part of the Restore Our Parks Act, this includes $1.3 billion per year for five years to deferred maintenance projects in the National Park Service’s nearly $12 billion backlog of repair work and $3 billion to the U.S. Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Indian Education to address infrastructure and repairs for our national public lands system.

During all the uncertainty and hardship we are currently facing, Americans are in need now, more than ever, of outdoor recreation opportunities and the solace that only nature can provide - this win could not have come at a better time! 
the trail head to sustainability
Making a monthly gift can make all the difference.

As a Conservation Hero you’ll be helping us connect people to nature through our guided hikes and family programs, like Desert Discovery Day, throughout the entire year. Monthly giving is a safe, easy way to make a big impact year-round; every monthly gift matters, whether its $5 or $50.

Please consider becoming our next hero - make a secure online gift or call us at 480.488.6131.
Shop to support land conservation.
Your shopping matters! So many of us are doing a portion, if not a majority, of our shopping online these days. Did you know you can support Desert Foothills Land Trust by simply shopping on The offers, products and deals are the same as Amazon - the difference is that the AmazonSmile Foundation donates 0.5% of your total purchases to the Land Trust whenever you shop.
Just click on Amazonsmile, create an account and start shopping to help protect the landscape you love. If you already have an account you can select Desert Foothills Land Trust as your preferred charity. It's that easy!
You can also support Desert Foothills Land Trust by simply shopping at your Fry's Food Store.

Here's how:
  1. If you already have a Fry's account skip to step 2 or go to to create an account by registering your email, Fry's V.I.P. card number, preferred Fry's store and postal code.
  2. Click this link to enroll in the Fry's Community Rewards Program
  3. Sign in to your account, then select Desert Foothills Land Trust as your preferred charity by entering our organization number PS037
  4. Select "save changes" and support us every time you shop!
Desert Foothills Land Trust | 480.488.6131 | 480.488.5545 | |
P.O. Box 4861, Cave Creek, AZ 85327