Hummingbird Plain Proposed Wilderness

Hummingbird Plain
© Mark Miller

Location: Within the Belmont-Harquahala National Conservation Area
Size: 5,135 acres

Hummingbird Springs Wilderness, designated under the Arizona Desert Wilderness Act of 1990, offers outstanding habitat and migration corridors for Sonoran Desert wildlife such as bighorn sheep, mule deer, and song birds.

The Sonoran Desert Heritage campaign proposes expanding this outstanding wilderness area to include its flatter, botanically diverse neighbor — commonly referred to as Hummingbird Plain — stretching to the east of the existing Hummingbird Springs Wilderness.

Connecting these wild lands with additional wilderness designation will ensure that their wildlife populations are able to migrate safely with little disturbance from humans, as population and energy development expand westward from Tonopah, Buckeye, and Wickenburg.

Wilderness Protection

Expanding the existing Hummingbird Springs Wilderness to include Hummingbird Plain as an additional wilderness unit will help connect habitat and enable wildlife to migrate safely between the Belmont Mountains to the east and the Harquahala Mountains Wilderness to the northwest.

As part of the larger Belmont-Harquahala National Conservation Area (NCA), expanding Hummingbird Springs Wilderness to include the “Plain” would create a strong core of ecologically significant protected public lands — for human access, cultural enrichment, and wildlife longevity — and enable the Bureau of Land Management to safeguard and better manage these values on a landscape level.

Wildlife

Desert flowers

© Mark Miller

The complexity and diversity of landforms in this area — including rock arches from the volcanic period — classic Sonoran Desert vegetation, and the natural beauty of this proposed wilderness offer outstanding solitude and wildlife watching for Cooper's hawks, prairie falcons, golden eagles, kit foxes, and Gila monsters. Saguaro, chollas, ocotillos, palo verdes, ironwood, and mesquite trees abound, which provide critical cover and habitat for amphibians, smaller mammals, and birds that feed larger wildlife species.

Recreation

With adequate winter rains, Hummingbird Plain is one of the most spectacular — but little known — areas to witness a classic Sonoran Desert wildflower bloom. Hiking, bird and wildlife watching, horseback riding, camping, and star gazing are common activities enjoyed by visitors to these easily-accessible flatlands south of Hummingbird Springs Wilderness.