9/25/2013 6:00:00 AM G&F honors Cane Springs for stewardship
Don Martin Outdoors Writer
KINGMAN - Cane Springs Ranch owners Anita Waite and Sherwood Koehn were recently selected by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission as the Wildlife Habitat Stewards of the Year for 2013.
They were nominated by Unit 16A wildlife manager Lainie Antolik and Game and Fish employee Troy Christensen.
"I am so delighted, honored and pleased for us to have been selected," Waite said.
Waite and Koehn have been at the 70,000-acre ranch for 20 years. They came from California, where they farmed and ran a contracting company.
Most of the land on the ranch is leased from the state of Arizona and the Bureau of Land Management, but there are 1,450 acres deeded private land.
Waite and Koehn operate a year-round cow/calf operation at the ranch, which is located on the east side of the Hualapai Mountains in game management Unit 16A.
Waite is proud of their accomplishments.
"We take good care of our ranch," she said. "Being good stewards of the land is not only good for our ranching interests, but wildlife as well."
And receiving awards for being good stewards is nothing new for the owners of the ranch. In 2000, they were honored as Arizona Conservation District Zone 3 Conservation Rancher of the Year, and in 2008 they received the Range Manager of the Year award from the Society of Range Management.
They also received an award from the local BLM office for their participation in the land exchange with Ben Brooks that ensured 34,000 acres of land on the ranch would not be subdivided into home sites.
Waite noted that she has an especially good connection with local sportsmen, whom she feels are some of her best friends.
"They are our eyes and ears out here," Waite said.
The ranch has had an access agreement with the Game and Fish Department for many years.
Antolik is the wildlife manager for Unit 16A.
"I was glad to nominate them," Antolik said. "They really do a good job out there, especially when it comes to rotating their cattle, which benefits wildlife. They definitely deserve this award."
Antolik also noted in her nomination report that "they believe in the importance of hunting and support hunters by helping them with any questions they may have about the area."
Waite said she was happy about the award, and stated, "Getting this award is like getting a top grade on your report card."
The Cane Springs Ranch has been the site of a number of wildlife-related projects.
Working with the Game and Fish Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, they have allowed their ranch pond to be used as a refuge for five different species of threatened or endangered fish.
Water is always available on the ranch for wildlife, even if there are no cattle in the area.
The ranch is open to use by the public utilizing the Game and Fish Department's sign in, sign out program.
A number of outdoor groups have also "adopted" the ranch and have participated in various projects. Included in those groups are the Lake Havasu 4-Wheelers, Cerbat Ridge Runners ATV club and the Walapai 4-Wheelers.
Waite has been involved in a number of projects that involve youth. In the past, the ranch hosted the Kids Fishing Day program, and once a year she has a local Boy Scout troop on the ranch for a campout.
Waite and Koehn allowed a Juniors Deer Camp to be held on their ranch in the past, and Waite talked to some of the young hunters about relationships between sportsmen and ranchers.
Waite has also served on the Mohave County Public Lands Committee and on the Kingman Habitat Partnership Committee.
She currently is a member of the Farm Bureau and the Mohave Livestock Association, and she is on the board of directors for the Big Sandy Natural Resource District.
Waite and Koehn will formally receive their award in January at a banquet in Phoenix.