On this blog, Andy Laurenzi recently described the collaborative process that led to Archaeology Southwest’s acceptance of a conservation easement on a 51-acre parcel in southeastern Arizona. The purpose of this easement is to protect, in perpetuity, the significant archaeological resources located on the property, making them available for future research and exploration.
Each of Archaeology Southwest’s conservation easements comes with a set of responsibilities. We must create a baseline documentation report that details the current status of the property. We visit the property at least once a year to monitor its condition and to maintain strong lines of communication with the property owner. And once every ten years, we are obligated to do a more detailed visit to update the site condition information in the initial baseline documentation report.
As we were finalizing details regarding the Cave Creek Midden easement, our friends and supporters Eldon, Jean, and Jaye Smith approached us, asking how they could help make sure this special site is protected for the long term. Eldon and Jean and their daughter Jaye are longtime Arizonans who care deeply about the Southwest’s heritage and believe in the effectiveness of Archaeology Southwest’s Preservation Archaeology approach. They had experienced the fieldwork at the site last fall firsthand, and were pleased to learn it could be protected for the future. They ultimately decided that the best way they could help this collaborative site protection effort would be to contribute $20,000 to Archaeology Southwest over several years to build an endowment fund specifically to pay for the site’s easement-monitoring and reporting costs in perpetuity.
We at Archaeology Southwest are grateful for the Smiths’ confidence in establishing this endowment. The Cave Creek Midden site’s protection story is definitely a strong example of how, when we all work together, we can make a difference and succeed in protecting these important places on the landscape across the Southwest. Thank you to Eldon, Jean, and Jaye for seeing the need and stepping up to join the collaboration. We are most grateful!