Southeastern Arizona is an ecological crossroads, where the Sierra Madre of Mexico, the Rocky Mountains and the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts all come together. The abrupt rise of mountains like the Huachucas from the surrounding arid grasslands creates “sky islands” that harbor tremendous habitat diversity and form stepping stones to the tropics. This combination of factors gives Ramsey Canyon Preserve its notable variety of plant and animal life, including such southwestern specialties as Apache and Chihuahua pines, ridge-nosed rattlesnake, lesser long-nosed bat, elegant trogon and Rivoli's and Anna's hummingbirds.
A spring-fed stream, northeast orientation and high canyon walls provide Ramsey Canyon with a moist, cool environment unusual in the desert Southwest. Water-loving plants such as sycamores, maples and columbines line the banks of Ramsey Creek, often growing within a few feet of cacti, yucca and agaves. Communities ranging from semi-desert grassland to pine-fir forest are found within the vicinity of Ramsey Canyon Preserve.
Ramsey Canyon and the Upper San Pedro River Basin are situated within the Apache Highlands ecoregion, which encompasses central and southeastern Arizona, southwest New Mexico and the northern Sierra Occidental of Mexico.
The preserve serves as a southeastern Arizona program office—a base for TNC’s work with regional partners on large-scale projects such as fire management, stream restoration and protection of rare species. Together, The Nature Conservancy and these partners achieve much greater success than any one entity working independently. Multiple partners also ensure a broader perspective and more enduring conservation solutions.