NPS Photo - R. Olsen
Fort Bowie NHS is surrounded by private ranchlands and public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Large mammals, such as the black bear and mountain lion, travel freely through this sparsely developed area, traversing Fort Bowie as they move from one mountain range to the next. Many smaller mammals reside within the boundary of Fort Bowie. Small rodents are the most common mammals, and there are numerous species of mice, kangaroo rats, squirrels and chipmunks. The rocky slopes provide habitat for species such as cliff chipmunks, rock squirrels and brush mice, while the grasslands and gravelly washes provide habitat for kangaroo rats, pocket mice and grasshopper mice. Other mammals, such as skunks, gray foxes, jack rabbits and cottontails, ringtails, coatimundi, and bobcats have also been seen, most often around water sources such as Apache Spring. Many species of bats also occur at Fort Bowie, utilizing old mines in the surrounding areas for shelter, as well as using the food resources that occur within the site. Agaves are abundant in the grasslands and on the rocky slopes, and nectar feeding bats utilize the flowers of these plants as food. Even though Fort Bowie is small in size, it’s location between two mountain ranges, permanent water sources, and varying habitat types provides many mammals the essential elements that are needed for survival.
Did You Know?
Heliographs are instruments which use a mirror and sunlight to transmit Morse Code. General Nelson Miles realized that southern Arizona’s mountainous terrain and huge amounts of sunlight would make the heliograph useful in his campaigns from Fort Bowie against Geronimo in 1886.