National Geographic : 1897 Jul
THE FORESTS AND DESERTS OF ARIZONA the wild Apache surrendered to General Crook in 1883, then and there breaking the war spirit of the race which had harassed for centuries peaceful Indians and white settlers alike. Except in the irrigated valley, everything looks brown and sear and un compromising under the July sun.* The cattle industry used to thrive in this valley, as in many others of the territory, and also on the plateau; but,just like lumbering in other regions, it was carried on recklessly, the natural meadows being overstocked far beyond their capacity; so that large areas which twelve years ago were luxuriant grass-producers are now absolutely barren, with not a spear of grass visible. The broad valley of Rio Verde, which carries the drainage from the plateau to Salt river, is capable of agricultural develop ment to a much greater extent than has been attempted; but, as in other parts of the territory, this requires systematic storage and utilization of the water. By careful management the cattle, sheep, and goat industry would no doubt be able to use advan tageously the large nonirrigable areas. The home market for this secluded valley is mainly in Jerome, which is the seat of one of the largest copper mines and reduction works in the United States, with an annual output of about one million dollars in value. Prescott and the mining districts surrounding it are also within reach by a long day's ride. There is hardly a drearier ride to be imagined than that from Verde valley over the Black Hills to Prescott. Up and down hill, over dry ridges studded with chaparral, scrub oak, man zanita, and the like, we traverse a region for which, but for the mineral wealth that may be under ground, no use suggests itself. Arriving at Prescott, we reach once more the altitude of the pines in Bradshaw mountains; but we find that there is little timber left, the town and the mining districts surrounding it having used up most of it. Prescott was once the capital of the terri tory and is still the metropolis of central Arizona, the supply base of many outlying mining districts and the cattle ranches in the large valleys on the north and west. Here we may take train for the southern portion of the terri tory. A branch road starts from Ash Fork on the Atlantic and Pacific railroad, whence it passes through the Black forest-not of spruces, firs, and pines, like the celebrated forest of that name * When we passed this way again, in September, after the rains had had opportunity to be effective, the country was almost unrecognizable; the dry, brush desert had changed into a beautiful prairie, and for the first time in eight years the grass had grown large enough to be cut for hay.