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Graham County Adventures
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Graham County Adventures
  Arizona Travel News ( Press Release )

A Special Place for Outdoor Enthusiasts
Arizona, USA: October 2003: From wildlife watching to star gazing, Graham County in southeastern Arizona offers an abundance of recreational activities. Soak in one of many natural hot spring mineral baths. Play a round of golf. Round up some cattle. Take a telescope tour on Mt. Graham. Above all, bring your binoculars. With more than 300 bird species, Graham County is a haven for birders from all over the world, and offers some of top birding locations in the United States:
Aravaipa Canyon & Turkey Creek Creeks have carved spectacular canyons and their waters support mixed broadleaf riparian ecosystems. The area supports habitat for more than 30 species of birds plus other wildlife including bighorn sheep and coatimundi. Located about 80 km west of Safford.
Bonita Creek Part of the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area, more than 140 bird species have been recorded here and more than 70 species nest along the creek which is also home to native fish and frogs. Located about 32 km east of Safford.
Discovery Park The park offers a variety of habitats including a small pond, cottonwood and willow trees. Discovery Park also is the location of the Gov. Aker observatory, educational exhibits on the origins of the world as told by many cultures, and a full-motion space simulator ride. Located at 20th Avenue and Discovery Park Blvd. on the southern edge of Safford.
Gila River Also part of the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area, this area is about 32 km northeast of Safford. Although there are several entry points for vehicles, the area is best accessed by foot, horseback or raft. Waterfowl and shore birds are seen along the river while hawks and eagles soar overhead.
Haekel Road and Ponds Haekel Road is located about 13 km east of Safford, providing access to San Simon Valley, Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area and several ponds north of Bowie. The San Simon Valley is a good location to spot winter raptors, buntings and sparrows.
Roper Lake State Park & Dankworth Pond Rangers and local birders post recent sightings which have included pelicans and herons. Located about 8 and 11 km respectively south of Safford, there is good access for vehicles near the ponds at both areas. Roper Lake features hot springs and campgrounds with hot showers.
Swift Trail This 56 km-long road (Hwy 366) is accessed from U.S. 191 about 12 km south of Safford. The road climbs from 1,005 metres to almost 2,743 metres in elevation, passing through five life zones on the eastern and southern flanks of Mt. Graham. It passes from cactus and ocotillo-clad hillsides to forests of fir, pine and spruce. The varied habitat brings with it a vast variety of birds.
PERMITS
Because many of these special areas are on land controlled by federal agencies, permits are often required. Further information about each of these areas and the appropriate agency to contact is available in a free color brochure listing the more than 300 species of birds that have been recorded in Graham County. The brochure is available on the internet and can be viewed and downloaded at the Graham County Chamber of Commerce's tourism information site: www.visitgrahamcounty.com.
ACCOMMODATIONS
Graham County offers a choice of unique accommodations ranging from a historic bed and breakfast to working cattle ranches. There also are modern motels, a conference center resort and even a casino resort with an 18-hole golf course and conference facilities.
About Olney House Bed and Breakfast
The historic Olney House Bed and Breakfast was built in 1890 by George A. Olney, a rancher who served as Graham County Sheriff. Listed on the Register of Historic Places, the Olney House is located close to downtown Safford. It is furnished with antiques collected by its owners in Europe and the U.S. It features three bedrooms upstairs in the main house and two cottages separate from the main house.
The Klondyke Country Store and Lodge is located in the desert riparian area near Aravaipa Canyon. The Horsehead Lodge on the property has a total of five bedrooms and three baths, two kitchens and a hot tub. The ranch also has RV hookups and campsites available. Guided horseback rides through the scenic Aravaipa Canyon are offered along with pack trips, cattle drives and other trail rides. Because of its remote location and the nearby mountains, the ranch has dark skies perfect for stargazing.
The Black Rock Ranch Wilderness Retreat's secluded location within the Santa Teresa Wilderness offers visitors the opportunity to step back in time and experience nature. Homesteaded in the 1890s, today this historic family ranch is operated by the third generation of the founder, Hollis Holladay, the first game warden in the Eastern Arizona Territory. Visitors can experience a day on a working ranch, ride the trails to the high country, hike, watch wildlife, and learn to ride and rope. Sleeping accommodations include five western-style log cabins. Each has its own bath facility with shower and/or antique tub.
Southern Arizona's Graham County offers an unspoiled view of life the way it ought to be. For further information, call the Graham County Chamber of Commerce at (928) 428-2511 or toll free at (888) 837-1841, or visit the website at www.visitgrahamcounty.com

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