Tony (Toney) Ranch

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Tony (Toney) Ranch Project

In August 2008, using in-lieu fee funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Superstition Area Land Trust purchased the Tony Ranch property in Haunted Canyon in the Tonto National Forest. The property was homesteaded in 1915 by William Toney, but mapmakers dropped the ‘e’ in Toney’s last name. In 1924, William Toney sold his homestead patent to George Taylor; the property passed to Mr. Taylor’s heirs upon his death in 1949. A lack of sufficient water and the risk posed by large predators made farming and cattle ranching difficult and unproductive so the property lay idle for many years, however a sturdy log cabin, circa 1919, still stands, along with evidence of a corral and apple orchard. As many of the smaller in-holdings in the National Forest have been purchased by various copper companies for use as well sites, the Tony Ranch owners had for decades resisted efforts by the Forest Service to buy the property. They were delighted when the Superstition Area Land Trust became interested in acquiring the property for preservation purposes.

Because of its location along Haunted Canyon Creek, the property is considered a riparian way and important to the survival of the various species of large and small mammals and birds that live in the canyon. The Superstition Area Land Trust (SALT) recognized the need to protect this important historical and environmental site from development and mining, to maintain the area in good ecological health, and to preserve the spring for the abundant wildlife in the area. With the construction of the Carlota Copper Company’s leach pad in nearby Powers Gulch, the protection in perpetuity of this classic example of healthy oak-woodland habitat became even more critical and the need more immediate.

Since purchasing the property, SALT has conducted an initial site analysis of its cultural and biological value, completed an extensive cleanup of the property, and compiled a detailed plan for invasive plant eradication. SALT’s stewardship of Tony Ranch also includes long term maintenance and monitoring of the property. Tony Ranch is a protected area. Anyone planning on visiting should first contact or at (480) 983-3454.

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