VOL. 17 ISSUE NO. 9   | MARCH 2 – 8, 2011


Preserve at the Cave important part of Cave Creek history

Conservation easement donated to DFLT by private landowner

CAVE CREEK – A guided Desert Foothills Land Trust (DFLT) hike to The Preserve at the Cave was the highlight of a recent weekend. We met at the DFLT office in Carefree and car pooled to the private property where permission had been granted for us to park our vehicles for the duration of the hike. The cave is located on private property and is not open to the public so people who visit without permission from the landowners are trespassing.

A previous landowner donated a conservation easement to the DFLT, which gives them the right and responsibility to ensure the natural resources are protected per the terms of the conservation easement document. The landowners also agree to permit DFLT to lead guided hikes to The Preserve at the Cave, but they are required to give two weeks notice and are limited to a certain number of hikes each year.

Owners of private lands, including conservation easement properties across the country, are not obligated to allow such visits, so we are fortunate our community has this access to the Cave.

Of notable historical significance are three military skirmishes as troops passed by the cave on their way from Fort Whipple near Prescott to Fort McDowell. Dec. 1, 1873, Tonto warriors were involved in a small battle. Dec. 25 the soldiers returned and ambushed the Indians from across the creek at dawn as the sun lighted the cave. Nine warriors and tons of food were burned. In 1874, 14 Apaches were killed here. By 1877 most of the Indians were on reservations.

Of local interest, Edward G. Cave “Ole Rackensack” lived in this area mining gold, having arrived in 1870. Friends worried about him and took him to Prescott to an old folks’ home.

He disappeared from there and was found back at the cave where he lived as a hermit on $6 a month from the county. The county sent someone out once a month with his money and to check on him but eventually he disappeared from the cave too.

A most pleasant two and a half hours passes very quickly on this leisurely hike.

Upcoming guided hikes to The Preserve at the Cave are scheduled for March 26 and April 16. The hikes meet at 9 a.m. at the DFLT office – 7518 E. Elbow Bend, Unit B-6 in Carefree.

E-mail hikes@dflt.org to reserve your spot for an historically informative hike led by a DFLT docent. Visit dflt.org for a full list of guided hikes, some of which are also on private property easements, truly a special treat!

Desert Foothills Land Trust’s 16th Annual “Sonoran Stars” fundraiser is set for 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 30 at Rancho Mañana Golf Club, 5734 E. Rancho Mañana Blvd., in Cave Creek.

Desert Foothills Land Trust is celebrating 20 years of protecting the area’s fragile landscape.

Now, more than ever, the Desert Foothills Land Trust needs donor support to achieve its goal of protecting thousands of acres of our region’s most important and beloved natural areas. To reserve seats, call 480-659-5133.

For more information about Desert Foothills Land Trust, call 480-488-6131 or visit www.dflt.org.

readers love sonoran news