Sky island

Sky islands are isolated mountains surrounded by radically different lowland environments. The term originally referred to those found near the southern borders of Arizona and New Mexico, and has extended to similarly isolated high-altitude forests. The isolation has significant implications for these natural habitats. The American Southwest region began warming up between ∼20,000–10,000 years BP and atmospheric temperatures increased substantially, resulting in the formation of vast deserts that isolated the Sky Islands.[1] Endemism, altitudinal migration, and relict populations are some of the natural phenomena to be found on sky islands.

The complex dynamics of species richness on sky islands draws attention from the discipline of biogeography, and likewise the biodiversity is of concern to conservation biology. One of the key elements of a sky island is separation by physical distance from the other mountain ranges, resulting in a habitat island, such as a forest surrounded by desert.

Some sky islands serve as refugia for boreal species stranded by warming climates since the last glacial period. In other cases, localized populations of plants and animals tend towards speciation, similar to oceanic islands such as the Galápagos Islands of Ecuador.

SkyIslands from SantaCatalinaMtns
View of the Santa Rita Mountains across the Tucson valley from the Santa Catalina Mountains. The Santa Ritas are among the most prominent of the "sky islands" in southern Arizona.
Chiricahua mtns-kmf
The 2,700 m (9,000 ft) Chiricahua Mountains above the desert
The 2,400 m (8,000 ft) Portal Peak in the Chiricahua Mountains surrounded by clouds

Origin of the term

The sky island concept originated in 1943 when Natt N. Dodge, in an article in Arizona Highways magazine, referred to the Chiricahua Mountains in southeastern Arizona as a "mountain island in a desert sea".[2]

In about the same era, the term was used to refer to high alpine, unglaciated, ancient topographic landform surfaces on the crest of the Sierra Nevada, California. [3]

The term was popularized by nature writer Weldon Heald, a resident of southeastern Arizona. In his 1967 book, Sky Island, he demonstrated the concept by describing a drive from the town of Rodeo, New Mexico, in the western Chihuahuan desert, to a peak in the Chiricahua Mountains, 56 kilometres (35 miles) away and 1,700 metres (5,600 feet) higher in elevation, ascending from the hot, arid desert, to grasslands, then to oak-pine woodland, pine forest, and finally to spruce-fir-aspen forest. His book mentions the concept of biome, but prefers the terminology of life zones, and makes reference to the work of Clinton Hart Merriam. The book also describes the wildlife and living conditions of the Chiricahuas.[4]

Around the same time, the idea of mountains as islands of habitat took hold with scientists and has been used by such popular writers as David Quammen[5] and John McPhee.[6] This concept falls within the study of island biogeography. It is not limited to mountains in southwestern North America but can be applied to mountains, highlands, and massifs around the world.[7]


The Madrean sky islands are probably the most studied sky islands in the world. Found in the U.S. states of New Mexico and Arizona and the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora, these numerous mountains form links in a chain connecting the northern end of the Sierra Madre Occidental and the southern Colorado Plateau. Sky islands of the central and northern mountains in the United States are often called island ranges, especially by populations within view of such islands of mountains surrounded by plains such as those found within the Wichita Mountains of southwestern Oklahoma.

Catalina Mountains elev7000
View from above 2,100 m (7,000 ft) in the Santa Catalina Mountains, showing pines and snow in the foreground and desert beyond

Some more northerly examples are the Crazy Mountains, Castle Mountains, Bears Paw Mountains, Highwood Mountains, and Little Rocky Mountains, all in the US state of Montana. Each of these ranges is forested and has tundra and snowpack above treeline, but is not connected to any other range by forested ridges; the ranges are completely surrounded by treeless prairie and/or semi-arid scrubland below. Other well-known sky islands of North America are the Great Basin montane forests, such as the White Mountains in California, and the Spring Mountains near Las Vegas, Nevada. One of the unique aspects of the sky islands of the U.S.-Mexico border region is the mix of floristic affinities, that is, the trees and plants of higher elevations are more characteristic of northern latitudes, while the flora of the lower elevations has ties to the desert and the mountains further south.[8] Some unique plants and animals are found in these sky islands, such as the mountain yucca, Mount Graham red squirrel, Huachuca springsnail, and Jemez Mountains salamander.

Some montane species apparently evolved within their current range, adapting to their local environment, such as the Mount Lyell shrew.[9] However, it has also been noted that some isolated mountain ecosystems have a tendency to lose species over time, perhaps because small, insularized populations are vulnerable to the forces of extinction, and the isolation of the habitat reduces the possibility of colonization by new species.[5] Furthermore, some species, such as the grizzly bear, require a range of habitats. These bears historically made use of the forests and meadows found in the Madrean sky islands, as well as lower-elevation habitats such as riparian zones. (Grizzlies were extirpated from the region in the 20th century.)[10] Seasonal movements between highland and lowland habitats can be a kind of migration, such as that undertaken by the mountain quail of the Great Basin mountains. These birds live in high elevations when free of snow, and instead of migrating south for the winter, they migrate down.[11]

Confusing the matter somewhat is the potential for an archipelago of sky islands or even the valleys between them to act not only as a barrier to biological dispersal, but also as a path for migration. Examples of birds and mammals making use of the Madrean archipelago to extend their ranges northward are the elegant trogon and white-nosed coati.[12]

List by terrestrial ecozone






Palearctic ecozone

See also


  1. ^ Favé, M., Johnson (2015). "Past climate change on Sky Islands drives novelty in a core developmental gene network and its phenotype". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 15: 183. doi:10.1186/s12862-015-0448-4. PMC 4560157. PMID 26338531.
  2. ^ Dodge, Natt (March 1943). "Monument in the Mountain". Arizona Highways. Phoenix, Arizona: Arizona Highway Department. 19 (3): 20–28.
  3. ^ Howell, John Thomas (May 1947). "Mono Mesa - Sierra Sky Island". Sierra Club Bulletin. San Francisco, California: Sierra Club. 32 (5): 15–18.
  4. ^ Heald, Weldon (1967). Sky Island. Princeton, New Jersey: Van Nostrand. pp. 114–126.
  5. ^ a b Quammen, David (2004). The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions. New York: Scribner. pp. 436–447. ISBN 978-0-684-82712-4.
  6. ^ McPhee, John (1981). Basin and Range. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. pp. 46. ISBN 978-0-374-10914-1.
  7. ^ Warshall, Peter (19 September 1994). "The Madrean Sky Island Archipelago: A Planetary Overview". Biodiversity and Management of the Madrean Archipelago. The Sky Islands of Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico. Fort Collins, Colorado: United States Forest Service. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ McLaughlin, Steven P. (19 September 1994), An Overview of the Flora of the Sky Islands, Southeastern Arizona: Diversity, Affinities, and Insularity, Biodiversity and Management of the Madrean Archipelago. The Sky Islands of Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico, Fort Collins, Colorado: United States Forest Service
  9. ^ Wilson, Don; Ruff, Sue (1999). The Smithsonian Book of North American Mammals. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. p. 26. ISBN 978-1-56098-845-8.
  10. ^ Brown, David E. (1985). The Grizzly in the Southwest. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 77–95, 136–159. ISBN 978-0-8061-1930-4.
  11. ^ "Mountain Quail fact sheet" (PDF). Nevada Department of Wildlife. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
  12. ^ Tweit, Susan J. (1992). The Great Southwest Nature Factbook. Alaska Northwest Books. pp. 209–210. ISBN 978-0-88240-434-9.
  13. ^ "Davis Mountains Preserve | The Nature Conservancy".

External links

Animas Mountains

The Animas Mountains are a small mountain range in Hidalgo County, within the "Boot-Heel" region of far southwestern New Mexico, in the United States. They extend north-south for about 30 miles (50 km) along the Continental Divide, from near the town of Animas to a few miles north of the border with Mexico. The range is about 12 miles (20 km) wide at its widest. The highest point of the range is the southern summit of the mile-long Animas Peak massif, 8,565 feet (2,611 m). (Animas Peak itself is the slightly lower north summit, 8,531 ft/2,600 m.)

The Animas Mountains lie between the Animas Valley on the west and the Playas Valley on the east. Nearby ranges include the Peloncillo Mountains (Hidalgo County), across the Animas Valley, and the Big Hatchet and Little Hatchet Mountains, across the Playas Valley.

Physiographically, the range divides into two parts. The compact southern part, which includes Animas Peak, is higher and wider, rising up to 4,000 ft (1,200 m) above the nearby valleys. It has a sky island character, with dense coniferous forests at the higher elevations. The longer, narrow northern portion is lower, reaching only 7,310 ft (2,228 m) at Gillespie Peak, and is characterized by grassland and piñon-juniper woods and shrubs.

The Animas Mountains lie near the Chihuahuan Desert, the Sonoran Desert, the Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico, and the mountains surrounding the headwaters of the Gila River. Biotic influences from these regions, as well as the more distant Rocky Mountains, give the southern portion of the range a great diversity of species, including "approximately 130 species of birds, 60 species of mammals, and 40 species of reptiles."

Catalina Highway

The Catalina Highway, officially the General Hitchcock Highway, is the popular name for a Forest Highway and scenic route located in Pima County in southern Arizona. Also known as the Sky Island Scenic Byway, the Mount Lemmon Highway and Arizona Forest Highway 39, the Catalina Highway is the only paved roadway providing access to the resort village of Summerhaven as well as various recreational and scientific facilities located near the summit of Mount Lemmon. Ascending from the desert floor in Tucson to near the summit of Mount Lemmon, the short highway gains over 6,000 ft (1.8 km), showcasing a variety of climates ranging from lowland desert to alpine forests. The name sky island comes from the analogy of these mountains being like islands of forest in a sea of desert. It is designated as a scenic byway by the National Scenic Byways Program. and an Arizona Scenic Road by the Federal Highway Administration.

Coronado National Forest

The Coronado National Forest is a United States National Forest that includes an area of about 1.78 million acres (7,200 km2) spread throughout mountain ranges in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico.

It is located in parts of Cochise, Graham, Santa Cruz, Pima, and Pinal Counties in Arizona, and Hidalgo County in New Mexico.

The national forest is divided into five ranger districts, which are not contiguous; each consists of multiple sky island mountain ranges.

The Santa Catalina Ranger District near the city of Tucson comprises the Santa Catalina and Rincon Mountains. Included in this area are the highest peak of the Santa Catalinas, Mount Lemmon, the rugged Pusch Ridge Wilderness Area, and the popular Sabino Canyon. Much of this district was part of Santa Catalina National Forest before its inclusion in Coronado.

The Safford Ranger District comprises the mountain ranges surrounding the city of Safford, Arizona. These five ranges are the Pinaleño, Galiuro, Santa Teresa, Winchester, and Greasewood Mountains. Included in this area is the highest peak of the Pinaleños, Mount Graham. Mount Graham National Forest was a formerly separate national forest, combined into Crook National Forest on July 1, 1908. In 1953, part of Crook was absorbed into Coronado.

The Nogales Ranger District comprises four mountain ranges north and west of Nogales, Arizona. These ranges are the Santa Rita, Tumacacori, Pajarito, and San Luis Mountains. Included in this area are Mount Hopkins, Mount Wrightson, and Madera Canyon, all located in the Santa Ritas. In the early 20th century, this area included two national forests which were absorbed into Coronado: Santa Rita National Forest and Tumacacori National Forest.The Douglas Ranger District comprises three mountain ranges north and east of Douglas, Arizona. These ranges are the Chiricahua, Dragoon, and Peloncillo Mountains. A portion of the ranger district in the Peloncillos extends into New Mexico. The district comprises three formerly separate national forests: Chiricahua National Forest, Dragoon National Forest, and Peloncillo National Forest, all combined into Coronado.The Sierra Vista Ranger District comprises three mountain ranges west of Sierra Vista, Arizona. These ranges are the Huachuca, Patagonia, and Whetstone Mountains. Included in this area is the highest peak in the Huachucas, Miller Peak, and the region of the Huachucas known as Canelo Hills. The district includes the formerly separate Huachuca National Forest

Dark Sky Island

Dark Sky Island is the eighth studio album by Irish singer, songwriter, and musician Enya, released on 20 November 2015 by Warner Bros. Records internationally and by Reprise Records in the United States. After the release of her previous album, And Winter Came... (2008), Enya was unsure of her next career move so she decided to take a break from music which lasted four years. In the spring of 2012 she started to write and record new material for a new album with her longtime collaborators, producer and arranger Nicky Ryan and his wife, lyricist Roma Ryan. Enya gained inspiration for the title track and the album from the 2011 designation of Sark in the Channel Islands as a dark-sky preserve and a collection of Roma Ryan's poems on islands.

Dark Sky Island received positive reviews from critics and was a commercial success upon release. It peaked at No. 4 in the United Kingdom, Enya's highest position on the chart since Paint the Sky with Stars (1997), and No. 8 on the Billboard 200 in the United States. Elsewhere, it reached the top-five in nine countries. A Deluxe Edition features three additional tracks. Enya promoted the album with a worldwide media tour that included performances of some songs from the album. Dark Sky Island was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best New Age Album.

Echoes in Rain

"Echoes in Rain" is a single by Irish musician Enya, the first to be taken from the album Dark Sky Island. It was released on 9 October 2015 by Warner Music.


Eithne Pádraigín Ní Bhraonáin (anglicised as Enya Patricia Brennan (); born 17 May 1961), known professionally as Enya, is an Irish singer, songwriter, record producer and musician. Born into a musical family and raised in the Irish-speaking area of Gweedore in County Donegal, Enya began her music career when she joined her family's Celtic band Clannad in 1980 on keyboards and backing vocals. She left in 1982 with their manager and producer Nicky Ryan to pursue a solo career, with Ryan's wife Roma Ryan as her lyricist. Enya developed her sound over the following four years with multitracked vocals and keyboards with elements of new age, Celtic, classical, church, and folk music. She has sung in ten languages.

Enya's first projects as a solo artist included soundtrack work for The Frog Prince (1984) and the 1987 BBC documentary series The Celts, which was released as her debut album, Enya (1987). She signed with Warner Music UK, which granted her artistic freedom and minimal interference from the label. The commercial and critical success of Watermark (1988) propelled her to worldwide fame, helped by the international top-10 hit single "Orinoco Flow". This was followed by the multi-million selling albums Shepherd Moons (1991), The Memory of Trees (1995) and A Day Without Rain (2000). Sales of the latter and its lead single, "Only Time", surged in the United States following its use in the media coverage of the September 11 attacks. Following Amarantine (2005) and And Winter Came... (2008), Enya took an extended break from music; she returned in 2012 and released Dark Sky Island (2015).

Enya is known for her privacy and has never undertaken a concert tour. She is Ireland's bestselling solo artist and second-bestselling artist behind U2, with a discography that has sold 26.5 million certified albums in the United States and an estimated 75 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. A Day Without Rain (2000) remains the bestselling new-age album, with an estimated 16 million copies sold worldwide. Enya has won awards including seven World Music Awards, four Grammy Awards for Best New Age Album, and an Ivor Novello Award. She was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for "May It Be", written for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001).

Galiuro Mountains

The Galiuro Mountains are a large sky island mountain range of southeast Arizona, USA. It is a northerly mountain range in the Madrean Sky Islands region of southeast Arizona, northern Sonora in northwestern Mexico, and the extreme southwest (the "bootheel") of New Mexico.

The range is noted for its height and ruggedness. The Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness encompasses the north perimeter of the range, and the large Galiuro Wilderness covers the central-south. To the south, the Galiuro Wilderness borders the Redfield Canyon Wilderness. A river valley borders the range to the southwest, and Aravaipa Creek and Valley border its northeast.

Ladron Peak

Ladrón Peak is an isolated, highly visible peak in central New Mexico, lying about 50 mi (80 km) southwest of Albuquerque. Ladron Peak is the only major peak in the compact range (really one large massif) known as the Sierra Ladrones, which lies between the Rio Puerco to the east and the Rio Salado to the southwest.

Despite its conical shape and its proximity to lava flows and small volcanoes, it is not itself a volcano. The core of the mountain is Precambrian granite. The peak rises dramatically from its surroundings on all sides; the summit is almost 4,500 feet (1,370 m) above the Rio Grande Valley, 10 miles (16 km) to the east.

The name of the peak means "thief", and "Sierra Ladrones" means "thieves' mountains." Navajo and Apache raiding parties, and later Hispanic and Anglo rustlers, used the mountains as hideouts, hence the name. Evidence of human occupation goes back over 10,000 years, and more recent prehistoric use occurred by the Mogollon and Anasazi cultures. Today, part of the range is included in the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The rest of the range is a mix of BLM and private land.

Ecologically, Ladrón Peak is a sky island, supporting vegetation and wildlife not found in the surrounding grasslands. It is high enough to have coniferous forests on its upper slopes. Animal species include mountain lion, bear, pronghorn, elk, deer and reintroduced desert bighorn sheep.

Madrean Sky Islands

The Madrean Sky Islands are enclaves of Madrean pine-oak woodlands, found at higher elevations in a complex of small mountain ranges in southern and southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and northwestern Mexico. The sky islands are surrounded at lower elevations by the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts. The northern west–east perimeter of the sky island region merges into the higher elevation eastern Mogollon Rim and the White Mountains of eastern Arizona (southern Anasazi region).

The sky islands are the northernmost of the Madrean pine-oak woodlands, and are classified as part of the Sierra Madre Occidental pine-oak forests ecoregion, of the tropical and subtropical coniferous forests biome. The sky islands were isolated from one another and from the pine-oak woodlands of the Sierra Madre Occidental to the south by the warming and drying of the climate since the ice ages.

There are approximately 27 Madrean sky islands in the United States, and 15 in northern Mexico. The major Madrean sky island ranges in Arizona are the Baboquivari Mountains, Chiricahua Mountains, Huachuca Mountains, Pinaleño Mountains, Santa Catalina Mountains, Santa Rita Mountains and Whetstone Mountains. Similar sky island ranges include the Animas Mountains in New Mexico and the Guadalupe Mountains, Davis Mountains and Chisos Mountains in west Texas.

One Piece (season 6)

The sixth season of the One Piece anime series, split into two "Sky Island" chapters, was produced by Toei Animation, and directed by Konosuke Uda based on Eiichiro Oda's manga by the same name. It was licensed by Funimation as the first season after 4Kids Entertainment dropped their heavily edited dubbing. The sixth season deals primarily with the Straw Hat Pirates's exploration of the legendary Skypiea, a land of winged humanoids built upon clouds, where they face off against Eneru and his henchmen.

The sixth season originally ran from February 9, 2003 through June 13, 2004 on Fuji TV and contained 52 episodes. The English version ran from September 29, 2007 through March 15, 2008 on Cartoon Network, airing just the first 24 in the US, due to Toonami ending on March 15, 2008. Australia, however, has continued to air new episodes and began aired unedited episodes beginning with the season's 32nd episode and ended with its final episode on January 7, 2009.

The season uses six pieces of theme music (about twice then before): two opening themes and four ending themes. The opening theme for the first 25 episodes is "Hikari e" (ヒカリヘ, lit. Toward the Light) by The Babystars. The second is "Bon Voyage" by Bon-Bon Blanco, for the rest of the season. The ending theme for the first 13 episodes is "Free Will" by Ruppina. Episodes 14 through 25 use Ruppina's "Faith". Episodes 26 through 38 use "A to Z" by ZZ. The remaining episodes use "Tsuki to Taiyō" (月と太陽, lit. The Moon and The Sun) by shela. Funimation has also produced English versions of the songs.

Pinaleño Mountains

The Pinaleño Mountains (in Yavapai: Walkame—"pine mountains" or in Western Apache: Dził Nnilchí' Diyiléé—"pine-burdened mountain"), are a remote mountain range in southeastern Arizona, near Safford (Ich'į' Nahiłtį́į́), Arizona. The mountains have over 7,000 feet (2,100 m) of vertical relief, more than any other range in the state. The mountains are surrounded by the Sonoran-Chihuahuan Desert. Subalpine forests cover the higher elevations. According to The Nature Conservancy, they traverse five ecological communities and contain "the highest diversity of habitats of any mountain range in North America." The highest point is Mount Graham (Western Apache: Dził Nchaa Sí'an—"Big Seated Mountain") at 10,720 feet (3,267 m). Locals often refer to the whole mountain range as "Mount Graham", in which case the peak is referred to as "High Peak". The mountains cover 300 square miles (780 km2) and are part of the Coronado National Forest, Safford ranger district.

The Pinaleño/Pinal Band (Spanish term: "Pinery People", Western Apache: Tiis Ebah Nnee—"Cottonwoods Gray in the Rocks People") of the San Carlos Apache (Tsékʼáádn—"Metate People"), one of the subgroups of the Western Apache people and their kin and close allies, the Hwaalkamvepaya/Walkamepa Band ("Pine Mountains People") of the Guwevkabaya/Kwevkepaya ("Southern People"), one of the three Yavapai regional groupings were either named after the Pinaleño Mountains or the mountains were named after them (both people used this range as primary source for pine nuts, which have long been a staple food for many Native American tribes).

The mountains are a Madrean sky island range that is typical of southern Arizona, specifically south-central Arizona, and especially the complete southeastern quadrant of Arizona, from Tucson, and Globe to Nogales, Douglas, and the Chiricahuas. Sky island ranges are mountains isolated by desert valleys. The deserts, as well as differences in elevation, prevent flora and fauna from traveling to or from nearby ecosystems. As a result, the mountain ecosystems are isolated, and distinct subspecies can develop. This is similar to what Charles Darwin discovered with species he collected from different islands in the Galápagos, a discovery that played a major role in his theory of natural selection. The Mount Graham red squirrel is an isolated population of red squirrels and possibly a subspecies as well.

Safford and Willcox, Arizona are the nearest towns to the Pinaleños.

Red Raven (Marvel Comics)

Red Raven is the name of three separate fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. These characters are the original Red Raven, a flying superhero, appeared in print once in 1940, then not again until 1968, and occasionally since then; the second Red Raven, named Dania, is a flying superhero and daughter of the original Red Raven, who first appeared in print in 1992, and occasionally since then; and Redford Raven, a Wild West villain who owned a set of medicine-enchanted wings, was also called Red Raven, and has appeared in print three times, in 1964, 1985, and 1987.

Rincon Mountains

The Rincon Mountains (O'odham: Cew Doʼag) are a significant mountain range east of Tucson, Pima County, Arizona, in the United States. The Rincon Mountains are one of five mountain ranges surrounding the Tucson valley. The other ranges include the most prominent, the Santa Catalina Mountains to the north, the Santa Rita Mountains to the south, the Tucson Mountains to the west, and the Tortolita Mountains to the northwest. Redington Pass separates the Rincon Mountains from the Santa Catalina Mountains. The Rincon Mountains are generally less rugged than the Santa Catalina Mountains and Santa Rita Mountains. The Rincon Mountains are also included in the Madrean sky island mountain ranges of southeast Arizona, extreme southwest New Mexico, and northern Sonora Mexico.

Rincón is Spanish for corner, denoting the primary shape of the mountain range. Mica Mountain (8,664 feet), the high-point of the Rincons forms the apex, with Rincon Peak (8,482 feet) forming the southern point, and Tanque Verde Peak (7,049 feet) forming the western point of the corner. The interior of the corner is Rincon Valley (south and west of Mica Mountain), primarily former ranchland currently being converted to tract housing. Colossal Cave county park, a limestone cave and popular destination, is located on the east end of the Rincon Valley, north of the community of Vail.

East of the Rincons are the Little Rincon Mountains. Between these two ranges is Happy Valley, a popular destination for locals for camping, hunting, and off-roading. Farther east is the San Pedro River of the San Pedro Valley, a holocene paleontology region.

South of the Rincon Mountains, beyond Rincon Valley is the Cienega Creek and Interstate 10.

Most of the Rincon Mountains are within Saguaro National Park, or in the Rincon Mountain Wilderness, 32°14′50″N 110°28′02″W, of the Coronado National Forest.

Roper Lake State Park

Roper Lake State Park is a state park of Arizona, surrounding 32-acre (130,000 m2) Roper Lake. The park is located off U.S. Route 191, 5 miles (8.0 km) south of Safford, at the Gila River and Valley.

The land for the park, formerly a ranch, was purchased by the state in 1972 in order to construct a reservoir.

Roper Lake State Park includes a boat ramp, a natural stone hot tub, a beach for swimming, a picnic area, a campground, and cabins. The lake is stocked with bass and trout, and boats are limited to small electric motors. Hiking trails are available, and the park is a place for birdwatching. This scenic park in southeast Arizona is in a beautiful location surrounded by the sky island Pinaleño Mountains range, including Mount Graham.

In another part of the park is Dankworth Pond, located about 3 miles (4.8 km) south. This 15-acre (61,000 m2) pond also offers fishing, a picnic area, and hiking trails.

Santa Catalina Mountains

The Santa Catalina Mountains, commonly referred to as the Catalina Mountains or the Catalinas, are north and northeast of Tucson in Arizona, United States, on Tucson's north perimeter. The mountain range is the most prominent in the Tucson area, with the highest average elevation. The highest point in the Catalinas is Mount Lemmon at an elevation of 9,157 feet (2,791 m) above sea level and receives 180 inches (460 cm) of snow annually.

Originally known by the Tohono O'odham Nation as Babad Do'ag, the Catalinas were later named in 1697 by Italian Jesuit priest Eusebio Francisco Kino in honor of St. Catherine who was the patron saint of Kino's oldest sister.The Catalinas are part of the Santa Catalina Ranger District located in the Coronado National Forest, and also include the Pusch Ridge Wilderness Area. The mountain range is considered a prominent range in the Madrean sky islands, and partially delimits the mountain ranges in the northwest of the sky island region; lower elevation bajadas associated with the Santa Cruz River Valley spread northwestwards towards Phoenix.

Catalina Sky Survey (CSS), on Mt. Lemmon, is a project to discover comets and asteroids, and to search for near-Earth objects (NEOs). More specifically, CSS is to search for any potentially hazardous asteroids that may pose a threat of impact. Its southern hemisphere counterpart, the Siding Spring Survey (SSS) was closed in 2013.

The Catalinas are a significant focus of recreational activity, with areas such as Sabino Canyon providing streams and perennial pools for visitors, by road access; Sabino Canyon is also a dayhiking access point. Catalina State Park in the western foothills of the Catalinas attracts visitors for its hiking opportunities and permanent pools in Romero Canyon. The village of Summerhaven on Mount Lemmon serves as a popular summer retreat from the heat of Arizona's lower deserts. Mount Lemmon Ski Valley is also notable as it is the southernmost ski destination in the United States.

Other mountain ranges surrounding the Santa Cruz Valley include the Santa Rita Mountains, the Rincon Mountains, the Tucson Mountains, and the Tortolita Mountains.

Sierra San Antonio

The Sierra San Antonio is a mountain range in southernmost Arizona state (U.S.) and northern Sonora state (México).

South Fork Eel River Wilderness

The South Fork Eel River Wilderness is a 12,868-acre (5,207 ha) wilderness area located in Mendocino County, California. The wilderness was added to the National Wilderness Preservation System when the United States Congress passed the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act in 2006 (Public Law 109-362). The Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is the agency in charge.

The wilderness is broken into two sections. The Red Mountain unit is dominated by Red Mountain and the Cedar Creek (South Fork Eel River) drainage. Elevations range from 1,100 feet (340 m) at the southwest end along Cedar Creek to 4,083 feet (1,244 m), less than three miles away at the top Red Mountain. Terrain is generally steep, consisting of rugged drainages dropping abruptly into Cedar Creek canyon. A small area of fairly gentle slopes is found near the summit. A zone of reddish soil occupies the central part of the area and contrasts sharply with the surrounding landscape.

These unusual soils have resulted in a unique vegetation cover of several species of pine and cypress trees intermixed with a low brush understory. Rare and endangered plant species occupy the landscape covered by these ultrabasic soils. These rare plants have been isolated over space and time on serpentine rock near the summit of Red Mountain. This edaphic sky island holds the northern range extension of Sargent cypress (Cupressus sargentii). This a is also the only location to find Red Mountain buckwheat (Eriogonum kelloggii) and Red Mountain stonecrop (Sedum eastwoodiae. Much of the area is designated and Research Natural Area (RNA) / Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC).

The red soil on Red Mountain is in the Littlered series. It is an Ultisol, a Haplohumult, with nearly 50% iron oxides. The main iron oxide is goethite (FeOOH), with enough hematite(Fe2O3)to make the soil red.The southern section called Cahto Peak unit consists of several Douglas fir forest watersheds, one of which is so pristine that it has been designated a Biosphere Reserve, a National Natural Landmark, and a Hydrologic Benchmark. Much of the area is designated a RNA / ACEC.

The Scarecrow of Oz

The Scarecrow of Oz is the ninth book set in the Land of Oz written by L. Frank Baum. Published on July 16, 1915, it was Baum's personal favorite of the Oz books and tells of Cap'n Bill and Trot journeying to Oz and, with the help of the Scarecrow, overthrowing the cruel King Krewl of Jinxland. Cap'n Bill and Trot (Mayre Griffiths) had previously appeared in two other novels by Baum, The Sea Fairies and Sky Island.


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