Arizona Land for Sale

The Grand Canyon is one of America’s treasures. It is among the world’s most spectacular natural formations. The facts about this natural wonder are well known. But, how well do we know the state where the Grand Canyon is located? Unless you’ve spent some time in other parts of the Grand Canyon State, you probably think of Arizona as only a vast, arid desert. In the minds of many, the Grand Canyon seems distinct and separate from the state that bears it. It could be due to the fact that the area around the Grand Canyon is more like that of Colorado. Perhaps people believe there is something otherworldly about the Grand Canyon, which makes mental association with Arizona – a very “earthy” place – difficult. It’s more likely because they have not been properly introduced.

Arizona is a land of extreme contrasts: low, dry desert butts up to high, craggy mountains. Recorded temperatures are as high as 128 degrees and as low as 40 degrees below zero. Some areas have almost no vegetation, while other areas are so lush as to be impenetrable. With such contrast within its own borders, it’s no wonder that Arizona is perceived as a land of two distinct and opposite personalities.

Those personalities are big and take up a lot of space. Arizona is the sixth largest state in the U. S., with just two square miles shy of 114,000 square miles within its borders. From its first settlements until the end of the 19th century, Arizona was very sparsely populated. According to the 2011 U.S. Census, 6,482,505 people live in Arizona, with the majority condensed in the metropolitan areas of Phoenix and Tucson.

A number of native peoples have inhabited the area now known as Arizona for thousands of years. The first visitor of record, a Spanish Franciscan by the name of Marcos de Niza, visited in 1539. From 1540 to 1542, Spanish conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado wandered through trying to find the fabled Seven Cities of Gold. Between 1683 and 1711, Eusebio Kino, a Jesuit priest from what is present-day Italy, founded 24 missions and chapels over Arizona and Mexico (part of the area then known as New Spain), interacting with more than a dozen different tribes during that time.

In the mid-1700s, Spain built fortifications in Tubac and Tucson, establishing a military occupation until 1821, when Mexico established its independence from Spain. Less than 30 years later, Mexico ceded the area of what are now Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah to the United States in 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo after the Mexican-American War. Toward the end of the 19th century, followers of Brigham Young were sent to settle the northern parts of Arizona and New Mexico. Arizona was admitted as the 48th state on February 14th 1912, but not before a bit of indecision in giving a proper name to the state. The monikers bandied about included “Pimeria,” “Gadsonia,” “Arizuma” and “Montezuma” (god-like hero of the Pima Indians, not the Aztec emperor).

While federal land and state and national parks take up a good portion of Arizona, 43.2 percent – nearly half of the area in the state – is privately held. In addition, a large portion of federally owned land is leased out to ranchers and miners. Geographically speaking, Arizona has distinct features separated by north and south: The Colorado Plateau covers most of the north and the Basin and Range area dominates the south. Lying between these extremes is a series of rugged mountains and steep valleys in a relatively thin strip called the transition zone. Because of this extreme difference of geography, climate and as a result, some industries, Arizona can be separated into two distinct parts: northern Arizona and southern Arizona.

Northern Arizona

Northern Arizona is defined by Utah to the north, Nevada to the west, New Mexico to the east, and the southernmost edge of the Colorado Plateau. The Colorado Plateau is centered in the Four Corners region, which is so named because the corners of four states – Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico – meet there. The geology of the area is mostly high desert, ranging in elevation between 5,000 and 8,000 feet above sea level. The Grand Canyon, Meteor Crater and the Painted Desert all are located on this plateau. Flagstaff is the largest city in northern Arizona and sits at just under 7,000 feet above sea level. While the city itself claims slightly more than 65,000 inhabitants in 2010, this reflects a significant increase since the 2000 census, when the population was just under 53,000 – an increase of nearly 25 percent. While officials say that a small portion of the increase was due to an undercount in the 2000 census, the data accurately reflects a statewide increase in population over that same period.

The northern portion of Arizona is atypical of what many envision Arizona to be. Steep mountains and lush, green valleys are crisscrossed by a multitude of rivers, streams and tributaries that branch off of the Colorado River, which runs through the northern part of the state, and defines most of the western border. While a good amount of the land in this area is public land, there are ample opportunities for investors to take advantage of available tracts. Prices per acre range widely, increasing as one gets closer to the towns and cities. More remote tracts of land are much more reasonable and are suitable for hunting preserves, logging or tourism.

Southern Arizona

Much of southern Arizona is the desert of almost everyone’s imagination: There are cacti in abundance, anchored in hardscrabble ground with an obvious lack of water. However, if you look closer, you might notice that it’s a bit more lush than other sandy, desolate-looking deserts of the United States and around the world. The colors of the rocks and plants are brilliant and varied. Wildlife abounds. This is a “living” desert, thanks to the geography of the area, which encourages twice-yearly rainy seasons (monsoons). This profusion of colors and life attracts people from all over the world. This spectacular, vivid area is located in the middle of the Basin and Range province, which extends north from southern Oregon and Idaho, covering the eastern portion of California, enveloping the entire state of Nevada, heading east well into New Mexico’s interior and south into Mexico. The largest cities in the state are located in this section and include Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma, among several others in and around the area.

Southern Arizona is an attractive alternative to enduring months of cold and snowbirds flock there by the hundreds of thousands every winter. The warmer temperatures and the senior-friendly culture offer the temporary resident plenty of diversion – and not a snow shovel in sight.

The Sonoran Desert is one of the most productive deserts in the world, providing plenty of food for herbivores (and in turn, carnivores) and precious water cleverly stored in the flesh of the saguaro cactus. The rains come in early spring, making the desert bloom with colorful plants and animals. Tracts of land are set aside for preservation, but plenty can be found for savvy investors. As you know, the closer one gets to civilization, the higher the the price per acre goes. But great deals on large pieces of land can be found within a reasonable distance.

Arizona Industry

Arizona boasts a fairly strong economy. If the Grand Canyon State were an independent country, it would have more economic power than Ireland, Finland or New Zealand. Not long ago, the economy in Arizona was based on the five “Cs”: cotton, copper, cattle, climate (tourism) and citrus. For a number of years, Arizona produced more cotton than any other state. Today, the dependence on these commodities has waned somewhat, but other industries have done well to fill in the gaps.

It wouldn’t be a far stretch to think that tourism is a major portion of Arizona’s economy, with 37 million tourists visiting the state in 2008 alone. This, in turn, creates job in travel, lodging and other supporting industries to the tune of 170,000 jobs. But, you might be surprised to discover that Arizona is a leader in the technology sector. Manufacturing and mining are also big industries in the Copper State.

The attraction of the Grand Canyon is, without a doubt, significant. More than five million people visit this natural wonder each year. But, Arizona holds many other natural treasures. A number of locations throughout the state are suitable for outdoor recreation including fishing, hunting, hiking, boating and mountaineering. A variety of attractions are scattered around the state, with the bulk of them clustering around Phoenix and Flagstaff, as well as the western border of the state, where the lower Colorado River flows. A multitude of game animals in a variety of sizes are plentiful and roam vast tracts of land. Mule deer, pronghorn antelope, American bison and bighorn sheep are hunted as well as the smaller animals, such as wild turkey, javelina and quail. Predators, such as black bear and mountain lion are also hunted, but these and other animals are strictly controlled, and the Arizona Game and Fish Department dole out permits based on lotteries.

The United States Armed Forces has no fewer than seven permanent military facilities in Arizona, including two Air Force bases, three Army bases and one Marine Corps base. Government contractors all over the state work to supply these outlets with supplies and equipment ranging from the mundane to the top secret. Some of the world’s most advanced military aircraft have been tested behind the closely-guarded gates of Arizona’s military bases.

Speaking of aircraft, Arizona has a flourishing aerospace industry outside of national defense. Exports in civil aviation top two billion dollars per year. Companies large and small employ more than 39,000 people in order to support two of the world’s biggest aircraft manufacturers – Boeing and Airbus. Aircraft storage also plays a part in the state’s economy. The dry air and hardpan soil make Arizona uniquely suited to the long-term storage of aircraft, and thousands of aircraft are clustered in two of the largest aircraft storage facilities – called boneyards – in the world.

Arizona holds an abundance of copper, from which the state gets its nickname. It is still extensively mined from vast open pits dotted around the state, still leading the nation in copper production. Other minerals are mined as well: gold and silver make up a small portion, but quartz, gypsum, malachite, pyrite, calcite and others are more common. One fascinating geologic formation brings gem hunters and rock hounds from around the world: Geodes are stones (geologic bubbles, really) found in various places in and around the state. Geodes contain cavities within which common minerals grow. The stones are fairly unremarkable and can easily be passed over by those who are not familiar with the characteristics of this natural wonder. The true geode hunter can spot one in a snap. Slicing one of these rather dull-looking stones in half reveals the treasure: a collection of jewel-like crystal formations – each geode hiding one or more minerals in a variety of colors.

Farms and ranches boasting hundreds and thousands of acres are easily found in Arizona. Cotton is no longer king, but it still ranks 10th in U.S. production. However, the largest crop grown in Arizona today is lettuce, making up about 20 percent of the state’s total crop production. Cattle, pigs and sheep graze on almost 23 million acres of land in Arizona.

High technology is another industry with which Arizona is well familiar. Clustered around Phoenix and Tucson in Arizona’s south, high technology companies have increased in Arizona over the last 20 years. Big players like IBM, Intel, Verizon Wireless and GoDaddy – along with smaller contributors – employ tens of thousands of people.

From the natural beauty, precious metals and vast farms to secret aircraft and semiconductors, Arizona holds a special appeal for many people in many ways. Not to forget, there is affordable land for sale in Arizona for those interested in a land auction sale too. Come see what Arizona can offer that will appeal to you.