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MDF Phoenix Chapter Holds Work Project on “Adopted” Gold Bar Ranch



For Immediate Release: July 29, 2014


Contact: Terry Herndon, or 623-696-579

                Miles Moretti, or 801-973-3940


MDF Phoenix Chapter Holds Work Project

on “Adopted” Gold Bar Ranch


Arizona chapters have adopted four ranches in

“Adopt-A-Ranch” program


Phoenix, AZ: Volunteers from the Phoenix Chapter of the Mule Deer Foundation (MDF) spent 20 hours this weekend at the Gold Bar Ranch cleaning out and repairing a 100-year old irrigation canal to improve wildlife habitat. The ditch feeds water from the Hassayampa River through the ranch and back in to the river. When the project is complete, more than 2 miles of the ditch will have been repaired allowing the creek to flow again and feed the small lake where many desert wildlife species drink. The project is part of the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s (AGFD) “Adopt-A-Ranch” program and MDF’s Arizona chapters have adopted a total of four ranches in the state. The program allows volunteers to help ranchers with work projects to improve their ranch management and support wildlife populations; in addition ranchers are often willing to allow public access across their properties to public lands beyond.


“Working with ranchers like we have this past weekend gives the entire Mule Deer Foundation a sense of pride,” commented Josiah Richards, chapter chair of the Phoenix Chapter. “It helps us keep an open dialogue with these ranchers and it also helps keep our mule deer healthy by supplying water throughout the year instead of only part of the year.”


The work project on the Gold Bar Ranch is just one of the many volunteer projects that Arizona’s MDF chapters have coordinated on the four ranches that they have adopted. The North Valley Chapter adopted the AGFD’s Horseshoe Ranch in 2013 and so far has dedicated 1,500 volunteer hours and $5,000 of Chapter Rewards money to repair or replace water tanks, wells and windmills. On the Yavapai Ranch, the Prescott Chapter is keeping gates and fences repaired, water holes cleaned out and catchments working. And on the Mogollon Rim near Payson, the Pinal Mountain Chapter will be having their first project weekend on the Bar X Ranch in August.


“The AGFD’s Landowner Relations Program includes various programs for working cooperatively with landowners to maintain public access and improve wildlife habitat on ranch lands. One of those programs, Adopt-A-Ranch, builds good working relationships by creating win-win-win partnerships between the AGFD, landowners, and groups of sportsmen or recreational users,” said AGFD’s public access coordinator Troy Christensen. “The four chapters of the MDF, which recently joined the program, have been doing a fantastic job working together with ranchers and the AGFD to address issues with public access and complete mutually-beneficial ranch improvements. Many of these projects would never have been completed without the help of the MDF volunteers.”


“Our ‘Adopt-A-Ranch’ efforts have been one of our most successful ways to contribute volunteer hours to improve mule deer habitat and to build relationships with private land owners,” commented Terry Herndon, MDF’s regional director for Arizona. “With all four ranches that MDF chapters have adopted here in Arizona, we have not only enhanced wildlife habitat and improved relationships with ranchers, but we’ve also generated increased volunteer interest and a sense of pride in doing a good thing for our wildlife.”


The 15 volunteers from the Phoenix Chapter who worked on the Gold Bar ranch were able to complete half of the project on their first work weekend and are already planning phase two of the project.



About MDF 
The Mule Deer Foundation is the only conservation group in North America dedicated to restoring, improving and protecting mule deer and black-tailed deer and their habitat, with a focus on science and program efficiency. MDF is a strong voice for hunters in access, wildlife management and conservation policy issues. MDF acknowledges regulated hunting as a viable management component and is committed to recruitment and retention of youth into the shooting sports and conservation. Get involved at or call 1-888-375-3337.