Created: January 11, 2000
70,900 acres of public land
I've actually driven through the center of this monument on I-17, but it was very dark and I didn't know it was there at the time...
Agua Fria National Monument Proclamation
The windswept, grassy mesas and formidable canyons of Agua Fria National Monument
embrace an extraordinary array of scientific and historic resources. The ancient ruins
within the monument, with their breathtaking vistas and spectacular petroglyphs, provide
a link to the past, offering insights into the lives of the peoples who once inhabited this
part of the desert Southwest. The area's architectural features and artifacts are tangible
objects that can help researchers reconstruct the human past. Such objects and, more
importantly, the spatial relationships among them, provide outstanding opportunities for
archeologists to study the way humans interacted with one another, neighboring groups,
and with the environment that sustained them in prehistoric times.
The monument contains one of the most significant systems of late prehistoric sites in
the American Southwest. Between A.D. 1250 and 1450, its pueblo communities were
populated by up to several thousand people. During this time, many dwelling locations in
the Southwest were abandoned and groups became aggregated in a relatively small
number of densely populated areas. The monument encompasses one of the best
examples of these areas, containing important archeological evidence that is crucial to
understanding the cultural, social, and economic processes that accompanied this period
of significant change.
At least 450 prehistoric sites are known to exist within the monument and there are likely
many more. There are at least four major settlements within the area, including Pueblo
La Plata, Pueblo Pato, the Baby Canyon Ruin group, and the Lousy Canyon group. These
consist of clusters of stone-masonry pueblos, some containing at least 100 rooms. These
settlements are typically situated at the edges of steep canyons, and offer a panorama of
ruins, distinctive rock art panels, and visually spectacular settings.
Many intact petroglyph sites within the monument contain rock art symbols pecked into
the surfaces of boulders and cliff faces. The sites range from single designs on boulders
to cliffs covered with hundreds of geometric and abstract symbols. Some of the most
impressive sites are associated with major pueblos, such as Pueblo Pato.
The monument holds an extraordinary record of prehistoric agricultural features,
including extensive terraces bounded by lines of rocks and other types of landscape
modifications. The agricultural areas, as well as other sites, reflect the skills of ancient
residents at producing and obtaining food supplies sufficient to sustain a population of
several thousand people.
The monument also contains historic sites representing early Anglo-American history
through the 19th century, including remnants of Basque sheep camps, historic mining
features, and military activities.
In addition to its rich record of human history, the monument contains other objects of
scientific interest. This expansive mosaic of semi-desert grassland, cut by ribbons of
valuable riparian forest, is an outstanding biological resource. The diversity of vegetative
communities, topographical features, and relative availability of water provide habitat for
a wide array of sensitive wildlife species, including the lowland leopard frog, the Mexican
garter snake, the common black hawk, and the desert tortoise. Other wildlife is abundant
and diverse, including pronghorn, mule deer, and white-tail deer. Javelina, mountain
lions, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and neotropical migratory birds also
inhabit the area. Elk and black bear are present, but less abundant. Four species of
native fish, including the longfin dace, the Gila mountain sucker, the Gila chub, and the
speckled dace, exist in the Agua Fria River and its tributaries.
Section 2 of the Act of June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C. 431) authorizes the
President, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic
and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are
situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to
be national monuments, and to reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of
which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care
and management of the objects to be protected.
WHEREAS it appears that it would be in the public interest to reserve such lands as a
national monument to be known as the Agua Fria National Monument:
NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, by
the authority vested in me by section 2 of the Act of June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16
U.S.C. 431), do proclaim that there are hereby set apart and reserved as the Agua Fria
National Monument, for the purpose of protecting the objects identified above, all lands
and interests in lands owned or controlled by the United States within the boundaries of
the area described on the map entitled "Agua Fria National Monument" attached to and
forming a part of this proclamation. The Federal land and interests in land reserved
consist of approximately 71,100 acres, which is the smallest area compatible with the
proper care and management of the objects to be protected.
For the purpose of protecting the objects identified above, all motorized and mechanized
vehicle use off road will be prohibited, except for emergency or authorized administrative
Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to enlarge or diminish the jurisdiction of the
State of Arizona with respect to fish and wildlife management.
The establishment of this monument is subject to valid existing rights.
All Federal lands and interests in lands within the boundaries of this monument are
hereby appropriated and withdrawn from all forms of entry, location, selection, sale,
leasing, or other disposition under the public land laws, including but not limited to
withdrawal from location, entry, and patent under the mining laws, and from disposition
under all laws relating to mineral and geothermal leasing, other than by exchange that
furthers the protective purposes of the monument. Lands and interests in lands within
the proposed monument not owned by the United States shall be reserved as a part of
the monument upon acquisition of title thereto by the United States.
There is hereby reserved, as of the date of this proclamation and subject to valid existing
rights, a quantity of water sufficient to fulfill the purposes for which this monument is
established. Nothing in this reservation shall be construed as a relinquishment or
reduction of any water use or rights reserved or appropriated by the United States on or
before the date of this proclamation.
The Secretary of the Interior shall manage the monument through the Bureau of Land
Management, pursuant to applicable legal authorities, to implement the purposes of this
Laws, regulations, and policies followed by the Bureau of Land Management in issuing
and administering grazing leases on all lands under its jurisdiction shall continue to apply
with regard to the lands in the monument.
Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to revoke any existing withdrawal,
reservation, or appropriation; however, the national monument shall be the dominant
Warning is hereby given to all unauthorized persons not to appropriate, injure, destroy,
or remove any feature of this monument and not to locate or settle upon any of the lands
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eleventh day of January, in the
year of our Lord two thousand, and of the Independence of the United States of America
the two hundred and twenty-fourth.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON