The Sonoita Creek Wildlife Corridor was identified in an Arizona Game and Fish funded study in 2006 as an important corridor for black bear, mule deer, mountain lion, and the endangered jaguar moving between northern Mexico and the Arizona Sky Islands. While most of the corridor is on national forest land, the corridor passes through a two-mile wide stretch of private land along AZ Highway 82 just north of Patagonia.
That same year, the Arizona Department of Real Estate approved the sale of 189 lots in the newly-platted Three Canyons subdivision under construction in the heart of the wildlife corridor. Paved roads and electricity were installed in Phase I located in the southern part of the subdivision. Of the 66 Phase I lots, 16 lots were sold before a bank foreclosure halted development in 2008.
In 2014 a group of concerned citizens intent on protecting critical wildlife habitat seized the opportunity to purchase the remaining 173 lots of the stalled housing project for the expressed purpose of setting most of the land aside as an integral part of the Sonoita Creek Wildlife Corridor. They formed Wildlife Corridors, LLC with a plan to sell just 24 of the Phase I lots and retire the development rights on the remaining 149 lots, thereby creating the initial 1200 acre Borderlands Wildlife Preserve which has since grown to 1800 acres and counting, and the re-named Wildlife Haven residential neighborhood.
In addition to grants and financial assistance from the US Forest Service Forest Legacy Program, The Nature Conservancy, Arizona Department of Fire and Forestry, and the Biophilia Foundation, private funding for the protection of the BWP has come from donors who made exceptionally generous individual gift contributions allowing all of the debt on the original 1,300 land purchase to be paid in full and purchase an additional 480 acres. As a result, almost 1,800 of the BWP are permanently protected by conservation easements with the Town of Patagonia and the Sonoran Institute. Currently, we are seeking additional Forest Legacy support and additional funding and contributions to continue to expand the BWP.
The Borderlands Wildlife Preserve is owned by Wildlife Corridors, LLC and managed in partnership with Borderlands Restoration Network.