Since June 1988, the Empire and Cienega ranches, along with portions of the adjacent Rose Tree Ranch, have been under the administration of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The 45,000 acres of public land are in southeastern Pima County and northeastern Santa Cruz County.
Prior to BLM's acquisition, these rolling grasslands and woodlands faced an uncertain future that almost assuredly included housing and commercial development. Such development would have eliminated the sweeping vistas and substantially harmed the watershed and habitat needed for rare native fish and a rich diversity of other wildlife. Pima and Santa Cruz county supervisors officially requested that BLM become involved in protecting this land. Through BLM's efforts, this area is now under public ownership and is being managed under the principles of multiple use for future generations to use and enjoy.
From Tucson, drive south on Interstate 10 to exit 281, and drive south on State Highway 83. Near milepost 40, turn east into the ranch entrance.