Clifton and Morenci were established during the late 1800s as mining towns. They are in eastern Arizona, near the New Mexico border. Clifton, incorporated in 1909, is the seat of Greenlee County and the birthplace of Geronimo, the famous Apache warrior chief. Morenci boasts the largest open-pit copper mine in the U.S. Elevations range from 3,464 feet in Clifton to 4,838 feet in Morenci, which is still unincorporated.
PRINCIPAL ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES Mining and mineral processing dominate the economic picture in the Clifton/Morenci area, employing upwards of two-thirds of the workforce. The government and educational sectors are also major employers with about 200 employees. Clifton and Morenci are trade centers for tourists driving the popular Coronado Trail or touring the historic Chase Creek business district. While there are a large number of retail and service firms, they are not major employers. The Greenlee Enterprise Zone, encompassing the entire county, was established in 1991. Employers may qualify for state corporate income tax credits if they expand employment by hiring local, economically disadvantaged employees. The four counties–Greenlee, Graham, Santa Cruz, and Cochise–which comprise the Southeastern Arizona Governments Organization (SEAGO) have been designated Arizona's first EDA District. This program provides funding for economic development in the four-county area.
The spectacular Coronado Trail cuts a path northward through the mountains and valleys of the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest, rising to a height of more than 9,000 feet at the Mogollon Rim. Wild and picturesque, the San Francisco River meanders through Clifton while the Gila River runs a course south of Clifton, through the fertile, grass-covered meadows of the Gila and Duncan valleys. These water resources together with Eagle Creek, the Blue and Black Rivers form local recreation sites. Hunting in the area is for bears, mountain lions, deer, turkeys, elk, javelina, and antelope. The rivers in the south form fine warm-water fisheries. Northern streams abound with trout. The hills around Clifton, filled with a multitude of agates and other stones, are popular with rock hunters. The communities are on old U.S. 666, recently renamed U.S. 191,and state Highway 75. Safford is about 45 miles to the southwest and the New Mexico state line is 30 to 35 miles east. The communities are approximately 169 miles northeast of Tucson.