Sedona Westerners in the Red Rock News

January 28, 2011

Sunday Drover Hike in Echo Canyon

 


by Marion Hadji-Agha

On a beautiful, crisp winter Sunday afternoon, the destination for the Drovers hiking group of the Sedona Westerners was the less well known Woo Ranch. Located in a remote area, the Woo Ranch trail winds through Echo Canyon in the Coconino National Forest northwest of Sedona. It was a pleasant hike. We saw grazing cattle in the meadows and enjoyed our ever present beautiful red rock formations in the Red Cliffs area. This effortless hiking trek brought us to the Woo Ranch House. The outside of the house seemed newly painted and a look inside the one room structure showed us dusty stone flooring. One might say it was rustic. Adjacent to it we could see a root cellar, dug deep into the ground with sturdy shelving in place for canned goods, meat and whatever cool storage was needed. Surrounding the house we found abandoned pieces of farm equipment as well as evidence of a well, pump pit and water storage tank. Rusted and dented water troughs were partially filled with sand, which at one time most likely watered stock in this area.


Drovers enjoying the beautiful red rocks shadowing Woo Ranch. Photo by Gus Rousonelos.

The hikers took the opportunity for taking photos, having a snack and exploring the surroundings. Some of us tried to imagine what ranch life would have been like at a place like this many years ago. Sadly, not much is known about the original owners, age and history of the Woo Ranch. Here is what we know.

In August, 2000, the 160 acres Woo Ranch in the Red Cliffs area was acquired by The Land Preservation Task Force for $6.9 Million Dollars. As part of the Keep Sedona Beautiful agency, the Land Preservation Task Force is set up as a three-partner working group to accomplish their goals. First Partner: Keep Sedona Beautiful with its dedicated volunteers who identify the parcels desired and raise funding to acquire those parcels. Second Partner: The United States Forest Service who does the necessary work within their organization to receive these parcels once they were acquired. Third Partner: The Trust for Public Land in Santa Fe who use their expertise on land options and acquisitions, federal appraisals and their tremendous fund handling capability to acquire the parcels and donate them to the USFS.

The Land Preservation Task Force proudly stands by their success in acquiring the Woo Ranch along with other unique and significant lands in the Sedona area and conveyed ownership of these properties to the Coconino National Forest.

In finishing this great afternoon hike one of our hikers spotted a large snake which seemed sluggish and appeared to want to overcome some stage of hibernation… after all, it is still winter.

The Westerners always welcome new members. If you are interested in joining the club, log onto our website: www.sedonawesterners.org. You may also join by attending the next monthly meeting, which will be held on Thursday, February 10th; at 7 pm. Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley Center, 100 Meadowlark Drive, Sedona.