White Mountain Grasslands Wildlife Area
|White Mountain Grasslands Wildlife Area|
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
|Location||Apache County, Arizona, United States|
|Area||2,850 acres (1,150 ha)|
|Governing body||Arizona Game and Fish Department|
The White Mountain Grasslands Wildlife Area is a wildlife area in Apache County, Arizona. Located in the White Mountains, the wildlife area was established in 1999 and is approximately seven miles west of Springerville and the nearby town of Eagar.
On June 25, 1999, the Cross L Ranch, consisting of 1,713 deeded acres, was purchased by the Arizona Game and Fish Department for the creation of the White Mountain Grasslands Wildlife Area. On August 8, 2000, purchase of the adjacent Ocote Ranch added another 1,137 acres to the wildlife area, bringing its total size to deeded 2,850 acres. The land and resource values associated with this acquisition provide opportunities to meet objectives of Arizona's Heritage Fund Program for Threatened, Endangered and Sensitive (TES) species and their habitats, as well as provide benefits for other wildlife species and recreational opportunities for the public. The $4,116,940 acquisition was accomplished utilizing funds from the Commission's Heritage Fund.
The 2,850-acre White Mountain Grasslands Wildlife Area property includes: 1) riparian habitat (2%) along the Carnero Creek drainage; 2) irrigated pasture (5%) that has rich soils and high production potential; 3) pond and open water habitats (3%); 4) plains grassland habitat (90%) on gently rolling hills, knolls and flat terrain; 5) storage rights in Carnero Lake (77.5%) and Wiltbank Reservoir (85%), along with irrigation water rights in Carnero and Fish Creeks for 211.5 acres on the Ocote Ranch. In addition, there are water rights held in Geneva and Norton Reservoirs and Fish Creek upstream from Wiltbank Reservoir; and 6) physical features including a main residence house, a bunkhouse, saddle room, shop, 12 stock ponds and fencing.
The Ocote Trail is a 2.6-mile hiking trail of moderate difficulty that overlooks and loops a large draw containing juniper woodland, grassland and ponds. There's a high probability of seeing pronghorn antelope, rock and golden-mantled squirrel, chipmunks and rabbits. There’s also a possibility of seeing elk, coyote, badger, striped skunk and gray fox. Both mountain and western bluebird are found in the junipers in winter. The meadows and grasslands offer opportunities to see golden eagle, northern harrier, red-tailed hawk and other raptors. Birding is best in spring, summer and fall. Hunting in season is also allowed on the property.
The White Mountain Grasslands Wildlife Area is located in east-central Arizona, about seven miles west of the towns of Springerville and Eagar. To get there, from Eagar, drive west on State Highway 260 about five miles to the junction of the road to the Springerville transfer station at milepost 391.4. Follow the paved road north, then west .6 miles to the southwest corner of the first hill. When the road turns north again, take the dirt road to the left three miles, in a northwest direction, to a cattle guard on the fence line boundary. Cross the cattle guard and proceed a short distance to the parking area. Park at designated sites only. The road is suitable for passenger cars. The wildlife area is open from sunrise to sunset.
- "White Mountain Grasslands Wildlife Area". Arizona Game and Fish Department. Retrieved 2012-12-11.