Date Creek Ranch
Kimberley Knight, Rancher
Date Creek Ranch is a small, family-owned and operated cattle ranch located 22 miles NW of Wickenburg. The ranch lies in the transition zone between the Sonoran and Mojave deserts, meaning it supports the unusual mixture of Joshua trees and saguaros. Beautiful Date Creek runs through the middle of the ranch and provides habitat for a variety of plants and wildlife, including beaver, wild turkeys and javelina.
My parents, Phillip and Geri, bought the ranch in 1966. It soon became the focus of our lives as my two brothers and I grew up. Working the land was a way of life and a means for survival and required the entire family’s participation. I returned to the ranch as an adult and raised my children here, and have been carrying on the ranching tradition since my father passed away several years ago.
Date Creek was not always such an abundant place. When we arrived at the ranch, the 3.5 miles of ephemeral and perennial stream was little more than a broad swath of barren sand and scattered cottonwood and willow trees. Javelina and other large wildlife was rare; the turkeys and beaver were little more than tales of the land’s past, long ago wiped out. Dad began a rest/rotation grazing management plan that gave the creek the opportunity to rest during the growing season. In 1982, he began applying holistic management to the land, which provided pastures even better opportunities to rest and for the grass to re-grow. It soon became obvious that the creek was making an amazing recovery and by the late 80’s it was recognized as one of the healthiest riparian areas in the state of Arizona. He received several awards and was written up in various magazines and newspapers (See awards and recognition).
My husband, Stefan, and I are continuing the same intensively managed grazing and holistic program that he started. Healing the land and caring for the wildlife is of primary importance to us (See Goals).