When you look out at the vast Sonoran Desert wilderness, full of saguaro, organ pipe, and cholla cactus, you do not exactly expect to see signs of cattle ranching. The land here is harsh, dry, and extreme. To a small group of ranchers, this land was paradise. Throughout the monument, you can see signs of these ranchers and their lifestyles. As you explore these old ranch sites, one cannot help but be impressed by the determination and perseverance of these men who worked this desert land.
The history of the earliest cattle ranching here in Organ Pipe’s territory started when cattle were introduced by the Spanish, perhaps Coronado or Padre Kino at his mission near Sonoyta. Cattle prospered on the mission farms and their ancestors provided stock for Indian herds in the area. The introduction of cattle, horses, and burros changed the face of this area forever. After the US/Mexico international boundary fence was established between Arizona and Mexico, cattle could no longer roam freely back and forth and the range became more restrictive.