The Land Report

Rockies 2018

The Magazine of the American Landowner is an essential guide for investors, landowners, and those interested in buying or selling land. The award-winning quarterly is known for its annual survey of America's largest landowners, The Land Report 100.

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W e s t e r n L a n d o w n e r 58 The LandReport | R O C K I E S 2 0 1 8 LANDREPORT.COM D aily challenges have always been inherent to ranching in the West and there are no shortages of them in the Altar Valley, located south of Tucson in Pima County. Ranches just north of the Mexican border operate at ground zero when it comes to immigration and border security issues. Development sprawl, watershed health and water supply, endangered species, historic cultural preservation, and public access amid a checkerboard of public and private lands are all part of life in this arid and exquisitely beautiful landscape. To Altar Valley rancher Sarah King, attitude defines the outcomes. "When there are challenges, you can choose to be negative, or you can find the positives," she says. King embodies the latter in her family's ranching operation and her work with the rancher-led Altar Valley Conservation Alliance. Her husband, Joe King, is the fourth generation of his family on the Anvil Ranch; her children, Evelyn, 3, and George, 1, the fifth. Established in 1895, the Anvil is a cow-calf operation. Starting in the early 1990s, the Kings and their neighbors began banding together to meet the formidable challenges of ranching in south Pima County. "Tucson was in the middle of a huge housing boom, development was sprawling, county planning was getting underway," King says. "There was a lot of conflict with environmental groups. 'Cattle Free in '93' was a goal for some of those groups and there was a lot of disjointedness." Concerned, Joe's father, John King, and his neighbor, Charley Miller, invited members of the Malpai Borderlands Group (MBG) for a visit. The MBG is an alliance of ranchers, environmentalists and public agencies working to find collaborative solutions to the same kinds of challenges the Altar Valley was facing. Following that visit, the ranchers of the Altar Valley formed a similar organization, the Altar Valley Conservation Alliance. Since that time, the Alliance has partnered with Pima County and other stakeholders in the development of Pima County's Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan. As part of the plan, the county acquired ranches at risk of development in the Altar Valley and then leased them back to ranchers to keep the lands working, in open space, and spared from development. A second major project has been the reintroduction of fire to the valley. Sarah King Anvil Ranch Arizona ZIEMBA PHOTOGRAPHIC SARAH KING "When there are challenges, you can choose to be negative, or you can find the positives." — Sarah King

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