Douglas Arizona is a small, charming border community with over 100 years of rich history. The city has a population of 15,000 residents and has been recently dubbed one of the nation’s best “micropolitan” areas, communities with 10,000 – 50,000 residents with superior amenities, growing economies and moderate costs of living.
Founded in 1901 and incorporated four years later, Douglas was first established as a smelter site for the thriving copper mines in Bisbee. In the late 1800’s, the area’s open, grassy lands made Douglas the perfect area for roundups for many of the region’s largest cattle ranchers. Thre valley is well known for its rich agriculture. The region also has a colorful Native American history, with names like Geromino and Cochise among the most famous Native American figures to define the southern portion of Cochise County.
Visit Douglas and see: historic landmarks including the Hotel Gadsden, the Southern Pacific Railroad Depot, the Grand Theatre, Church Square, and the first international airport in the U.S. The Douglas area is also home to the famous Slaughter Ranch as well as the San Bernardino and Leslie Canyon National Wildlife Refuges with over 283 different species of birds, mammals and other riparian wildlife. The city continues to play a vital role as a gateway to Mexico and the Rio Sonora region and shares a rich, cultural and economic history with its Mexican sister city, Agua Prieta.
Read about the 15 BEST THINGS TO DO IN DOUGLAS, AZ HERE
Cochise County is one of the top places in the country to go birding. The sky islands and desert valleys combined with its proximity to the subtropics offers incredible species diversity, in fact this is one of the most diverse areas for all biota for inland habitat. Any time of year is great to visit: Spring and Fall hosts many migrants through the county, summer has breeding species only found here in the U.S., and many species overwinter in the county.
Each winter season, more than 20,000 Sandhill Cranes flock to this playa—an ancient, closed bin lake bed. A birding festival held every January, “Wings Over Willcox”, features food, field trips throughout Cochise County, educational seminars, and more. Allow 2 hours for your visit.
The Apache Station Wildlife Area
The Apache Station Wildlife Area, located next to Apache Generating Station near Cochise, is a primary winter roosting location for sandhill cranes. We supply water for the wildlife area from an onsite well system, supplemented by rainfall. We try to keep at least 40 acres of land inundated with water during the sandhill crane wintering season, which runs from late October until early March.
The Wildlife Area is populated by mammals including javelina, bobcat and deer. Birds of prey include the Northern harrier, red-tailed hawk, ferruginous hawk, bald eagle and golden eagle. Wading birds and waterfowl are present year-round, although numbers reach their peak in the winter months. Frequently seen waterfowl include the snow goose, Northern shoveler, mallard, Northern pintail, and American widgeon.
The viewing area includes a public access road, a parking area, information signs, picnic facilities, public restrooms and a wheelchair-accessible viewing dike that provides unobstructed observation of the wetlands.