To Friends Of

Cave Creek Canyon


(Editor's note: we are having difficulty with the size and layout of some of the pictures.  We apologize if you have any difficulty) 



Gold Found in Portal Area! 





And Red, Too!

(Images  by Cecil Williams)



Recent FoCCC Activities


Friends of Cave Creek Canyon has been very busy the last month or so.  Here are some of the activities:


Archeological Excavation, October 19th



    Members of the Friends of Cave Creek Canyon attended the Archaeological Open House at Desperation Ranch on Kim Murphy's property.  The site is the Cave Creek Midden, the site that defined the Middle Archaic Chiricahua Stage of the Cochise Culture in the American Southwest. 


     The permission to do the excavation on his property was one of many great things done for this area by the late Kim Murphy. Kim recently passed away.  Before his retirement, Kim was a Game and Fish Warden for this area and also wrote about the area.



This excavation is sponsored by the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society and is considered to be the most important current archaeological excavation in all of ArizonaFor more information:


 We look forward to learning the results of their findings and will report them to you.

(images by Rene Donaldson) 

Annual Meeting, November 6th


This was a very delightful time spent at the Event Center on Highway 80 (Thanks to Bob & Sheri Ashley for the use of their facility and lots of support!) 


Reed and Sheri presented a quick and concise business meeting and Sheri handled the auction.  We raised $1670 in the auction. Thanks to the Chiricahua Desert Museum and many other donors.   Many memberships were renewed and 3 new members joined.  Our membership is now well over 100 households and 11 Business members.


The highlight of the evening was a presentation by Paul Moore (Padre Paul) of Silver City with his Red-tailed Hawk.  His talk about hawks was mesmerizing.  We wish we had pictures of the audience when Paul flew the hawk right over their heads.  Peoples eyes were huge and they were ducking everywhere.  The lower they ducked the lower the hawk flew! 



(images by Cecil Williams) 


Invasive Plant Work Day


     On 15 November, 2014, nine volunteers from Friends of Cave Creek Canyon (FOCCC) worked an average of 2 hours each to remove non-native white horehound (Marrubium vulgare, Lamiaceae) near the USFS Visitor's Center at Portal, AZ. (editor: It is native to Africa, Asia and Europe.)

     Using hand-removal and digging tools only (no herbicides), the group started at the intersection of the Silver Peak trail and the mule trail down to the corrals and worked both sides of each of the fences enclosing this area.  Faced with very dense populations of large horehound plants, they made it only as far as an area below the lower gate of the corral.  Most of the plants bore seeds and were therefore bagged. 

     Approximately 30 black bags of plants were left near a recreation equipment storage building for USFS personnel to remove and destroy.  We wish to thank the following volunteers for their participation:  Al Bammann, Alan Craig, Dinah Davidson, Barb Miller, Reed Peters, Linda Pretty, Carol Simon, and Peter and Mary Sue Waser.

      Future plans call for a great deal more horehound removal work in this area, helping to improve the appearance of grounds surrounding the Visitor's Center and the native plant garden maintained by FoCCC.  Additional volunteers would be most welcome!


Thanks, Dinah Davidson & Barb Miller



Bears & Lions! November 17th

FoCCC sponsored a very interesting and informative forum on bears and mountain lions in the Portal area and the Chiricahua Mountains as a whole.


The meeting was attended by game wardens for Arizona Game & Fish Gilbert Gonzales and Mike Richins (center) and FoCCC  President Reed Peters.


They presented many interesting Bear facts: 

  • There are 90-100 bears in the Chiricahua Mountains
  • Females have young every 2 years, usually twins
  • They are nomadic, but often their "home" range is 1 square mile in a plentiful food year, 5-20 square miles in a bad year.
  • They do remember where they have fed - if they find food at your house, they WILL return.  "They will habituate to a reliable food source."
  • Their sense of smell is phenomenal.  They can smell food miles away.
  • They do not all hibernate, or necessarily hibernate for all winter.
  • Rarely have they broken into homes locally.
  • Average size for males is 350 pounds and females 250 pounds.
  • Life span can be 25 years.

 Here are a few of the Dept. of Game and Fish recommendations:

  • Do not store garbage outside
  • Hang bird feeders where bears cannot reach them and away from buildings.  Bring them in at night.
  • Do not feed bears, javelinas, fox, etc.
  • Do not feed pets outside.
  • Do not leave food inside a car.
  • Plant fruit trees WELL away from residences.  (Ed. - perhaps it is better to not have any plants that attract bears.)

To learn more:




 Mountain Lions

Here are some interesting comments about Mountain Lions (a.k.a. Cougars):

  • There is a robust, healthy population of mountain lions in the Chiricahua Mountains. 
  • Because they are so difficult to track, it is not known how many are in the area.  A guess by the wardens was that there is "easily 25-40 here" in this large mountain range.
  • They are great wanderers.  Their home range is 10-150 square miles.
  • They are not only nocturnal.  One was seen recently in Portal by the Portal Peak store during the day.
  • They eat deer, cattle (especially calves), cats, dogs and other mammals.


 Mountain Lion picture taken by Dinah Davidson, Fall 2014, near her home.




This bear rarely broke bird feeders when it came into backyards.  It visited a number of yards in the mouth of the Canyon for the last few years, along with others.

    It would tip the hummingbird feeders up and drink the nectar and then usually leave the feeders where it they hung, without breaking them. 

   He also liked to get into this fountain - maybe it was a hot day? 




Some people would chase him away when he ate too much bird food - this is not recommended!  Aside from the danger you might step in something.


This bear, along with other bears, loves the pyracantha berries - a non-native plant.  This is definitely not a recommended plant for this area if you wish to avoid bears. 


As a result of the fire of 2011, drought and this year's flooding we have seen an increase in the number of bears searching for food in the Portal area.  By learning to follow the rules of Arizona Fish and Game we can more readily live in harmony with these interesting, but wild creatures.  The goal is to avoid having to have bears like the above put down unless absolutely necessary.


 To learn more



The Small Acreage Land Owner Workshop

 - Turning Dreams into Reality

Cochise County Cooperative Extension

Hosted by Friends of Cave Creek Canyon

  • Learn how to inventory and map your property's assets.
  • Formulate goals for your property
  • Understand the physical and legal constraints of your property

When: Tuesday: Tuesday, December 9       9am-noon

Where: Cave Creek Ranch, Portal

Fee:  $10 for participant materials, to be paid at the door


Instructor: Mark Apel, Area Agent, Cooperative Extension

RSVP by Friday 12/5 to maple@cals.arizona.edu or (520) 458-8278 #2181


Small acreage land owners may own anywhere from one acre up to 80 acres and may need some guidance in formulating goals for their property. The workshop "Turning Dreams into Reality" assists small acreage land owners in that endeavor by helping them understand how to read maps, create photo-documentation, as well as inventory and map their property's resources. For example, how many acres of a person's property are in grassland? In shrubs? Where are the erosion problems? Where are the water courses and fencing on the property? What parts of the property may be used for gardening or raising livestock? What are the restoration and conservation goals? 

     A significant part of the workshop is also devoted to outlining the various environmental and legal constraints on rural property, such as deed restrictions, floodplains, zoning, and water rights. This training helps land owners develop more realistic and timely goals for their property - goals based on fiscal and human resource constraints, as well as limitations imposed by the land, itself, and land use regulations. 




Cave Creek Canyon:
Revealing the Heart of Arizona's Chiricahua Mountains

Cave Creek Canyon: Revealing the Heart of Arizona's Chiricahua Mountains, with 45 chapters written by local experts on almost every aspect of the canyon you can imagine: geology, early people, mammals, invertebrates, birds, reptiles and life in the canyon today. It will be more than 250 pages and feature over 200 full-color photos.

Pre-publication ordering is now available. Estimated ship date January, 2015.

This one of a kind book as been made possible by Friends of Cave Creek Canyon

If you order using your credit card, we will not charge it until the day of shipping.

A limited edition of hardcover copies will also be available for $49.95


 To preorder go to this link 


To see an advance copy go to the Chiricahua Desert Museum on Highway 80



Dear Friends of Cave Creek Canyon


When I was buying something on Amazon the "amazon smile" program popped up, offering to donate � of 1 percent of all my future purchases to a charity of my choice.  Of course I put in the words Friends of Cave Creek Canyon, and that was it!  They know about it, I confirmed it with a click, and we were done.  If you're an Amazon shopper please consider making the Friends the recipient of Amazon's donations.


We have just been notified that we will soon be receiving our first check!   We appreciate you support!


Click here for the easiest way to get to the Amazon Smile Page. (Don't forget to bookmark it.) Then you continue as normal with Amazon.  FoCCC will then automatically get credit for you order.


Thank you, Reed Peters,



Wintery Sunset by Maya Decker




Friends Of Cave Creek Canyon
PO Box 16126
Portal, Arizona 85632


Visit Our Website 

Thanks to our "Sustainer's Circle" members 
for their generous support:  

 Nancy and Thomas Denney, Gabriella Duncan, Mary George, Paul Hirt and Linda Jakse, Pi Irwin, Leuthold Family Foundation,  Barbara Lounsbery,  Patrick McNamara, Barb and Pete Miller, Richard and Patricia Parran, Tom Roseman and Paula Baldwin, Andrew Sleeper, Sarah Thomson, Mike and Cecil Williams and Bob and Sherry Zoellick.

Please support our Business Members  who  have given generously to Friends Of Cave Creek Canyon.  Without their assistance, we would be hard pressed to accomplish our goals. Click on their names to check out their websites.    
                Cave Creek Ranch                              Chiricahua Desert Museum
            Naturalist Journeys, LLC                                   Orchid Davis  

                 Sky Island Rolfing                                      Wynne Brown LLC

                   Birders' B & B                   Everett Jones Realestate (Helen Snyder)
            Pi Irwin & Zsombor Zoltan                            Ed Newbold Wildlife Artist

                   Rodeo Tavern            


Business Memberships start at just $50.00!