March 2013 ~~~~ Editor:  Cliff Hanger ~~~~
Chuck Wagon from Wikipedia

A chuckwagon or chuck wagon is a type of wagon historically used to carry food and cooking equipment on the prairies of the United States and Canada. Such wagons would form part of a wagon train of settlers or feed traveling workers such as cowboys or loggers.

In modern times, chuckwagons feature in certain cooking competitions and events. Chuckwagons are also used in a type of horse racing known as chuckwagon racing.


While some form of mobile kitchens had existed for generations, the invention of the chuckwagon is attributed to Charles Goodnight, a Texas rancher who introduced the concept in 1866. Goodnight modified the Studebaker wagon, a durable army-surplus wagon, to suit the needs of cowboys driving cattle from Texas to sell in New Mexico. He added a "chuck box" to the back of the wagon with drawers and shelves for storage space and a hinged lid to provide a flat cooking surface. A water barrel was also attached to the wagon and canvas was hung underneath to carry firewood. A wagon box was used to store cooking supplies and cowboys' personal items.

Chuckwagon food typically included easy-to-preserve items like beans and salted meats, coffee, and sourdough biscuits. Food would also be gathered en route. On cattle drives, it was common for the "cookie" who ran the wagon to be second in authority only to the "trailboss". The cookie would often act as cook, barber, dentist, and banker.
The term "chuck wagon" comes from "chuck", a slang term for food, and not from the nickname for "Charles".

A historical recreation of a chuckwagon at the
Texas Parks and Wildlife Expo in Austin

The American Chuckwagon Association is an organization dedicated to the preservation of the heritage of the chuckwagon. Its members participate in chuckwagon cook-offs throughout much of the US. Through these events, the members educate the public on the history and traditions surrounding the chuckwagon.

At a chuckwagon cook off, each wagon is judged on the authenticity of the wagon. Wagons must be in sound drivable condition, with equipment and construction available in the late 1800s. Contents of the chuck-box, including utensils, must also match what would have been used during the era. Wagons are also judged on the attire of their cooks. A typical chuckwagon cookoff is composed of 5 food categories: Meat (usually chicken-fried steak), Beans (pinto), Bread (sourdough or yeast), Dessert (usually peach cobbler), and potatoes. A team of judges evaluates the entries from each wagon, giving each a score. Once scores are tabulated, prizes are awarded to the top wagons.

Charles Goodnight's chuckwagon was named in 2003
as the "official state vehicle" of Texas; this exhibit
is at the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame
in the Fort Worth Stockyards in Fort Worth.

One of the most famous chuckwagon cook-offs is the Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium. Held annually for some two decades, this event attracts thousands to Ruidoso, New Mexico.

Among the few chuckwagon cook-offs east of the Mississippi River takes place during SaddleUp! each February in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Held just outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park, SaddleUp! also features a cowboy symphony and cowboy church services over a four-day period.

The Academy of Western Artists presents an annual award for outstanding chuckwagon cooking as well as honors in other fields relating to the culture of the American cowboy.


Chuckwagon racing is an event at some rodeos mainly in Western Canada such as the Calgary Stampede. Chuckwagon races were held from 1952 until 1998 at Cheyenne Frontier Days, one of America's biggest rodeos. There are a few professional chuckwagon racing circuits that operate in North America with the premiere circuit being run by the World Professional Chuckwagon Association (WPCA) based in Calgary, Alberta, the Western Chuckwagon Association out of Grande Prairie, AB, and Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Association out of 

The Rangeland Derby at the Calgary Stampede 2006
Saskatchewan. A yearly chuckwagon race event is still held in Clinton, Arkansas.Chuckwagons are raced around a figure eight barrel obstacle, and the stove and tent poles within the wagon must not be lost. The racing team also has from two to four "outriders" who load the stove and tent poles at the start and must finish the race with the chuckwagon. Many such races are held each year in Western Canadian cities and towns.

Animal welfare

Chuckwagon racing is highlighted by animal welfare experts as dangerous to the horses, due to the unusually high risk of broken limbs and other bones. Horses die frequently as a result and animal welfare charities are trying to raise awareness about the sport in this light. In July 2011, a horse died in the chuckwagon race on the opening night of the Calgary Stampede.

Chuckwagon suppers

Tourists, mostly in the summers, can experience chuckwagon suppers followed by live entertainment by such groups as the Flying J Wranglers at the Flying J Ranch in Alto near the resort city of Ruidoso, New Mexico. Two such suppers are available in Colorado: in Durango, and Colorado Springs at the Flying W Ranch. Other suppers are available in Jackson, Wyoming, the Black Hills at Rapid City, South Dakota, and in Branson, Missouri.

Fort Hays from Wikipedia

Fort Hays was an important frontier outpost of the United States Army located in Hays, Kansas between 1865 and 1889. Fort Hays was the home of several well-known Indian wars regiments including the Seventh U.S. Cavalry, the Fifth U.S. Infantry, and the Tenth U.S. Cavalry, whose black troopers were better known as buffalo soldiers. The fort was originally located about five miles south of present day Walker, Kansas.


At first called Fort Fletcher (after Governor Thomas C. Fletcher of Missouri), it became operational on October 11, 1865. The army garrisoned the fort with the "Galvanized Yankees" of Companies F and G, 1st U.S. Volunteer Infantry under the command of Lt. Col. William Tamblyn, supplemented by detachments of the 13th Missouri Cavalry, to protect the stage and freight wagons of the Butterfield Overland Despatch traveling along the Smoky Hill Trail to Denver. Two additional companies of Tamblyn's command and small detachments of the 13th Missouri Cavalry were stationed along the line farther west, Company A at Monument Station 100 miles from Fort Fletcher, and Company I at Pond's Creek Station, 50 miles beyond that.

Fort Fletcher's troops spent much of their time away from their post, guarding stage stations and escorting travelers. Fort Fletcher was closed in May 1866. There are several reasons why it was closed. The army was shorthanded, needed funds to maintain the post were unavailable, and Indians temporarily had forced the stageline from the route. This abandonment was not permanent, however, and Fort Fletcher was reestablished in October. Soon after its reoccupation the fort's name was changed. The Fort received the name "Fort Hays" from Civil War general Alexander Hays, who had been killed in 1864 at the Battle of the Wilderness.

New Location

The troops at Fort Hays continued to aid the railroad crews, but the post's location proved to be unsatisfactory for two reasons: the railroad was following a route to the north of the old trail and the post was located in a floodplain that could be destructive. General Winfield Scott Hancock, made the decision to move the post nearer the railroad while visiting there in early 1867. He determined that the post could better serve the railroad if it were moved to a site near where the railroad crossed Big Creek. The new and final location of Fort Hays would be located just south of present day Hays, Kansas. The new Fort Hays site was officially occupied on June 23, 1867.

The new fort, like other Plains forts, was not a true fortification but appeared to be more like a frontier settlement. There was no wall around the post, and the only defensive structure was a blockhouse. The post was designed as a base for supplies and troops who could be dispatched into the field to protect vulnerable people and places when Indian resistance appeared.


Fort Hays was abandoned on November 8, 1889. A decade later, Congress transferred the original land to the State of Kansas to be used for a branch of the state agricultural college. Fort Hays State University, the only state university in the western half of Kansas, evolved from this.

Fort Hays State Historic Site

The Kansas Historical Society maintains several buildings as a museum known as the Fort Hays State Historic Site. Four of the original buildings can be visited: the 1867 stone blockhouse, 1872 stone guardhouse, and two of the frame officers' quarters, which have been outfitted with period furnishings. Also on exhibit are Native American artifacts.


    In 1868 General Philip Sheridan reported seeing a herd of 300,000 buffalo near Fort Hays. He estimated the herd covered a territory 
    90 miles in length and 25 miles wide.
    Fort Hays has been featured in three movies: Dances with Wolves starring Kevin Costner, the 1997 CBS-TV movie Stolen Women,
    Captured Hearts starring Janine Turner and Michael Greyeyes, and the 1937 movie The Plainsman starring Gary Cooper.
    Fort Hays is also featured in the 17-week ABC military-western series Custer, which aired during the fall of 1967. It starred Wayne
    Maunder in the title role.

Blue Light Lady

There is an often reported paranormal sighting known around Fort Hays. Known commonly as the 'Blue Light Lady,' the ghost is allegedly the spirit of Elizabeth Polly, who was a nurse during the time Fort Hays was an operational military fort. The sightings of a blue light center around Sentinel Hill, which was a supposed favorite spot of Polly's, who asked to be buried on top of it. Sentinel Hill has a burial marker on top of it, but reports are mixed as to whether or not she is actually buried there. Some contend that the grave found at the base of the hill was not Polly, but rather a Mexican cattleman, due to the marker's Spanish inscription. In fact the "Lonely Grave," as it is called, may not be an actual burial site at all as no remains were found in attempts to fulfill Miss Polly's wishes by moving her to the top of the hill. This is also refuted because the actual Sentinel Hill is completely made of bedrock, therefore making it a highly unlikely burial ground.

Notable and Temporary Residents

    Wild Bill Hickok
    Buffalo Bill Cody
    General Nelson Miles
    General Philip Sheridan
    Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer
    General, then Captain Louis H. Carpenter, Medal of Honor winner for 1868 action, Civil War, Indian Wars and Spanish-American War.
    Some times Commander of Fort Hays.

History of Arizona from Wikipedia

The history of Arizona as recorded by Europeans began in 1539 with the first documented exploration of the area by Marcos de Niza, early work expanded the following year when Francisco Vásquez de Coronado entered the area as well. Arizona was part of Mexico from 1822, but the settled population was small. In 1848, the United States took possession of most of it after the Mexican-American War. The Gadsden Purchase secured the Tucson area in 1853. In 1863, Arizona was split off from the Territory of New Mexico into its own entity. The remoteness was eased by the arrival of railroads in 1880. Arizona became a state in 1912, but was primarily rural with an economy based on cattle, cotton, citrus and copper. Dramatic growth came after 1945, as retirees especially appreciated the warm weather and low costs. Major issues in recent years include ethnic hostility between Anglos and Hispanics, and the bust that followed the real estate bubble of the 2000s.

Mexican Arizona

Arizona was thinly settled by Mexico in the 1840s, with little protection from Indian raids. The U.S. won the Mexican-American War (1846–1848) and in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848), Mexico ceded to the U.S. the northern 70% of modern-day Arizona.


1895 map (Rand McNally) Double click to enlarge
American Arizona

Starting in 1853, the entirety of present-day Arizona was part of the New Mexico Territory. In 1849, the California Gold Rush led as many as 50,000 miners to travel across the region, leading to a booms in Arizona's population. In 1850, Arizona and New Mexico formed the New Mexico Territory. In 1853, President Franklin Pierce sent James Gadsden to Mexico City to negotiate with Santa Anna, and the United States bought the remaining southern strip area of Arizona and New Mexico in the Gadsden Purchase.

Before 1846 the Apache raiders expelled most Mexican ranchers. One result was that large herds of wild cattle roamed southeastern Arizona, By 1850, the herds were gone, killed by Apaches, American sportsmen, contract hunting for the towns of Fronteras and Santa Cruz, and roundups to sell to hungry Mexican War soldiers. and forty-niners en route to California.

Civil War

During the Civil War, on March 16, 1861, citizens in southern New Mexico Territory around Mesilla (now in New Mexico) and Tucson invited take-over by the Confederacy. They especially wanted restoration of mail service. These secessionists hoped that a Confederate Territory of Arizona (CSA) would take control, but in March 1862, Union troops from California captured the Confederate Territory of Arizona and returned it to the New Mexico Territory.

The Battle of Picacho Pass, April 15, 1862, was a battle of the Civil War fought in the CSA and one of many battles to occur in Arizona during the war. Between three sides, Apaches, Confederates and Union forces. In 1863, the U.S. split up New Mexico along a north-south line to create the Arizona Territory. Prescott was a small village when it was replaced Tucson as the territorial capital in 1877.

Indian control

In the late 19th century the Army built a series of forts to guarantee the Indians would stay on their reservations. The first was Fort Defiance, set up 1851 to awe the Navajos. Small skirmishes were common. In April 1860 one thousand Navajo warriors under Manuelito attacked the fort and were beaten off. The fort was temporarily abandoned during the Civil War but was reoccupied in 1864 by Colonel Kit Carson and the 1st New Mexico Infantry. Carson's force trapped the Navajos and forced them on the Long Walk to the reservation. They promised to no longer raid their neighbors, and instead focused on sheep ranching; the more sheep a man owned the higher his social status. Fort Defiance was the agency for the new Navajo reservation until 1936; today it provide medical services to the region.

Fort Apache was built on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation by soldiers from the 1st Cavalry and 21st Infantry in 1870. Only one small battle took place, in September 1881, with three soldiers wounded. When the reservation Indians were granted U.S. citizenship in 1924, the fort was permanently closed down. Fort Huachuca, east of Tucson, was founded in 1877 as the base for operations against Apaches and raiders from Mexico. From 1913-33 the fort was the base for the "Buffalo Soldiers" (black soldiers) of the 10th Cavalry Regiment. During World War II, the fort expanded to 25,000 soldiers, mostly in segregated all-black units. Today the fort remains in operation and houses the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and the U.S. Army Network.


After the Civil War Texans brought large-scale ranching to southern Arizona. They introduced their proven range methods to the new grass country. Texas rustlers also came, and brought lawlessness. Inexperienced ranchers brought poor management resulted in overstocking, and introduced destructive diseases. Local cattleman organizations were formed to handle these problems. The Territory experienced a cattle boom in 1873-91, as the herds were expanded from 40,000 to 1.5 million head. However the drought of 1891-93 killed off over half the cattle and produced severe overgrazing. Efforts to restore the rangeland between 1905 and 1934 had limited success, but ranching continued on a smaller scale. Arizona's last major drought came in the Dust Bowl years of 1933-34. This time Washington


The Gadsden Purchase
(shown with present-day state boundaries and cities)

Arizona Territory in 1866
This ornate grain basket by Akimel O'odham dates
from the early 20th century, showing the
Native American dimension to the state's culture.

Fort Defiance, painted 1873 by Seth Eastman
stepped in as the Agricultural Adjustment Administration spent $100 million to buy up the starving cattle. The Taylor Grazing Act placed federal and state agencies in control of livestock numbers on public lands. Most of the land in Arizona is owned by the federal government, which leased grazing land to ranchers at low cost. Ranchers invested heavily in blooded stock and equipment. Wilson argues that after 1950 higher fees and restrictions in the name of land conservation caused a sizable reduction in available grazing land. The ranchers had installed three-fifths of the fences, dikes, diversion dams, cattleguards, and other improvements, but the new rules reduced the value of that investment. In the end, Wilson argues, sportsmen and environmentalists maintained a political advantage by denouncing the ranchers as land-grabbers, political corrupters, and preyers on the publicly owned natural resources.

In 1880 Lewis Williams opened a copper smelter in Bisbee and the copper boom began, as the nation turned to copper wires for electricity. The arrival of railroads in the 1880s made mining even more profitable, and national corporations bought control of the mines and invested in new equipment. Mining operations flourished in numerous boom towns, such as Bisbee, Douglas, Ajo and Miami.

Wild West

Arizona's "wild west" reputation was well deserved. Tombstone was a notorious mining town that flourished longer than most, from 1877 to 1929. Silver was discovered in 1877, and by 1881 the town had a population of over 10,000. Western story tellers and Hollywood film makers made as much money in Tombstone as anyone, thanks to the arrival of Wyatt Earp and his brothers in 1879. 

Inspiration Copper Company smelter at Miami, Arizona, c. 1915
Hourly re-enactment for tourists of the
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
They bought shares in the Vizina mine, water rights, and gambling concessions, but Virgil, Morgan and Wyatt were soon appointed as federal and local marshals. They killed three outlaws in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, the most famous gunfight of the Old West. In the aftermath, Virgil Earp was maimed in an ambush and Morgan Earp was assassinated while playing billiards. Walter Noble Burns's novel Tombstone (1927) made Earp famous. Hollywood celebrated Earp's Tombstone days with John Ford's My Darling Clementine (1946), John Sturges's Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957) and Hour of the Gun (1967), Frank Perry's Doc (1971), George Cosmatos's Tombstone (1993), and Lawrence Kasdan's Wyatt Earp (1994). They solidified Earp's modern reputation as the Old West's deadliest gunman.

Jennie Bauters (1862–1905), was a madam who operated brothels in the Territory in 1896-1905. She was an astute businesswoman with an eye for real estate appreciation, and a way with the town fathers of Jerome regarding taxes and restrictive ordinances. She was not always sitting pretty; 

her brothels were burned in a series of major fires that swept the business district; her girls were often drug addicts. As respectability closed in on her, in 1903 she relocated to the mining camp of Acme. In 1905, she was murdered by a man who had posed as her husband.

Jennie Bauters (1862–1905), was a madam who operated brothels in the Territory in 1896-1905. She was an astute businesswoman with an eye for real estate appreciation, and a way with the town fathers of Jerome regarding taxes and restrictive ordinances. She was not always sitting pretty; her brothels were burned in a series of major fires that swept the business district; her girls were often drug addicts. As respectability closed in on her, in 1903 she relocated to the mining camp of Acme. In 1905, she was murdered by a man who had posed as her husband.

20th century


Connor Hotel in Jerome
The luxury Harvey House hotel opened in 1905
overlooking the South Rim of the Grand Canyon;
it remains in operation as the El Tovar Hotel.
By 1869 Americans were reading John Wesley Powell's reports of his explorations of the Colorado River. In 1901, the Santa Fe Railroad reached Grand Canyon's South Rim. With railroad, restaurant and hotel entrepreneur Fred Harvey leading the way, large-scale tourism began that has never abated. The Grand Canyon has become an iconic symbol of the West and the nation as a whole.


The Chinese came to Arizona with the construction of the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1880. Tucson was the main railroad center and soon had a Chinatown with laundries for the general population and a rich mix of restaurants, groceries and services for the residents. Chinese and Mexican merchants and farmers transcended racial differences to form 'guanxi,' which were relations of friendship and trust. Chinese leased land from Mexicans, operated grocery stores, and aided compatriots attempting to enter the United States from Mexico after the Mexican Revolution in 1910. Chinese merchants helped supply General John Pershing's army in its expedition against Pancho Villa. Successful Chinese in Tucson led a viable community based on social integration, friendship, and kinship.


In the early 20th century, Arizona almost entered the Union as part of New Mexico in a Republican plan to keep control of the U.S. Senate. The plan, while accepted by most in New Mexico, was rejected by most Arizonans. Progressives in Arizona favored inclusion in the state constitution of initiative, referendum, recall, direct election of senators, woman suffrage, and other reforms. Most of these proposals were included in the constitution that was submitted to Congress in 1912. President William Howard Taft insisted on removing the recall provision (because it would allow recall of judges) before he would approve it. It was removed, Taft signed the statehood bill on February 14, 1912, and state residents promptly put the provision back in. Hispanics had little voice or power. Only one of the 53 delegates at the constitutional convention was Hispanic, and he refused to sign. In 1912 women gained suffrage (the vote) in the state, eight years before the country as a whole.


Signing of Arizona statehood bill

Arizona's first Congressman was Carl Hayden (1877–1972). He was the son of a Yankee merchant who came to Tempe because he needed dry heat for his bad lungs. Carl attended Stanford University and moved up the political ladder as town councilman, county treasurer and Maricopa County sheriff, where he nabbed Arizona's last train robbers. He also started building a coalition to develop the state's water resources, a lifelong interest. A liberal Democrat his entire career, Hayden was elected to Congress in 1912 and moved to the Senate in 1926. Reelection followed every six years as he advanced toward the chairmanship of the powerful Appropriations Committee, which he finally reached in 1955. His only difficult campaign came in 1962, at age 85, when he defeated a young conservative. He retired in 1968 after a record 56 years in Congress. His great achievement was his 41-year battle to enact the Central Arizona Project that would provide water for future growth.

The Great Depression

The Great Depression of 1929-39 hit Arizona hard. At first local, state and private relief efforts focused on charity, especially by the Community Chest and Organized Charities programs. Federal money started arriving with the Federal Emergency Relief Committee in 1930. Different agencies promoted aid to the unemployed, tuberculosis patients, transients, and illegal immigrants. The money ran out by 1931 or 1932, and conditions were bad until New Deal relief operations began on a large scale in 1933. Construction programs were important, especially Hoover Dam (originally called Boulder Dam)), begun by President Herbert Hoover. It is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border with Nevada. It was constructed by the Federal Bureau of Reclamation between 1931 and 1936. It operationalized a schedule of water use set by the Colorado River Compact of 1922 that gave Arizona 19% of the river's water, with 25% to Nevada and the rest to California.

World War II

During World War II (1941–45) Mexican-American community organizations were very active in patriotic efforts to support American troops abroad, and made efforts to support the war effort materially and to provide moral support for the young American men fighting the war, especially the young Mexican-American men from local communities. Some of the community projects were cooperative ventures in which members of both the Mexican-American and Anglo communities participated. Most efforts made in the Mexican-American community, however, represented localized American home front activities that were separate from the activities of the Anglo community.

Mexican-American women organized to assist their servicemen and the war effort. An underlying goal of the Spanish-American Mothers and Wives Association was the reinforcement of the woman's role in Spanish-Mexican culture. The organization raised thousands of dollars, wrote letters, and joined in numerous celebrations of their culture and their support for Mexican-American servicemen. Membership reached over 300 during the war and eventually ended its existence in 1976.

Heavy government spending during World War II revitalized the Arizona economy, which was still based on copper mining, citrus and cotton crops and cattle ranching, with a growing tourist business.

Military installations peppered the state, such as Davis-Monthan Field in Tucson, a main training center for air force bomber pilots. Two relocation camps opened for Japanese and Japanese Americans brought in from the West Coast.

After 1945

The population grew rapidly after 1945, exploding by almost ten times from 700,000 in 1950 to over 5 million in 2000. Most of the growth was in the Phoenix area, with Tucson a distant second. Urban growth doomed the state's citrus industry, as the groves were turned into housing developments. The cost of water made cotton growing less and less profitable, so the state's production steadily declined. By contrast, manufacturing employment jumped from 49,000 in 1960 to 183,000 by 1985, with half the workers in well-paid high tech firms such as Motorola, Hughes Aircraft, and Goodyear Aircraft, Honeywell, and IBM in the Phoenix area. By 1959, Hughes Aircraft built advanced missiles with five thousand workers in Tucson.

National leadership

Although a small state, Arizona produced numerous national leaders for both parties. Two Republican Senators were presidential nominees: Barry Goldwater in 1964 and John McCain in 2008. Both carried Arizona and lost the national election. Senator Ernest McFarland, a Democrat, was the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate 1951-52, and Congressman John Rhodes was the Republican Minority Leader in the House, 1973-81. Democrats Bruce Babbitt (Governor 1978-87) and Morris Udall (Congressman 1961-90) were contenders for their party's presidential nomination. In 1981 Sandra Day O'Connor became the first woman on the Supreme Court, serving until 2006.

Retirement communities

The warm winters and low cost of living attracted retirees from the snow belt who moved permanently to Arizona after 1945, bringing their pensions, Social Security and savings with them. Trolander shows that real estate entrepreneurs catered to them with new communities with amenities pitched to older 

Historical populations
Census  Pop.   %±
1860  6,482 
1870       9,658      49.0%
1880     40,440    318.7%
1890     88,243    118.2%
1900    122,931     39.3%
1910    204,354     66.2%
1920    334,162    63.5%
1930    435,573    30.3%
1940    499,261    14.6%
1950    749,587    50.1%
1960  1,302,161   73.7%
1970  1,745,944   34.1%
1980  2,718,215   55.7%
1990  3,665,228   34.8%
2000  5,130,632   40.0%
2010  6,392,017   24.6%
Sources: 1910-2010
people, and with few facilities for children. Typically they are "gated" (with controlled access), and have pools, recreation centers, and sometimes a golf course. In 1954, two developers bought 320 acres (1.3 km2) of farmland near Phoenix and opened the nation's first master-planned, adult community dedicated exclusively to retirees at Youngtown. In 1960, developer Del Webb, inspired by the amenities in trailer parks in Florida, added facilities for "active adults" in his new Sun City planned community near Phoenix. In 1962 Ross Cortese opened the first of his gated Leisure Worlds. Other developers copied the popular model so that by 2000, 18% of the retirees in the state lived in "lifestyle" communities.

Environmental issues

Water delivered by the
Central Arizona Project's canal.
The issues of the fragile natural environment, compounded by questions of water shortage and distribution, led to numerous debates. The debate crossed traditional lines, so that the leading conservative, Senator Barry Goldwater, was also keenly concerned. For example, Goldwater supported the controversial Colorado River Storage Project (CRSP). He wrote:

"I feel very definitely that the [Nixon] administration is absolutely correct in cracking down on companies and corporations and municipalities that continue to pollute the nation’s air and water. While I am a great believer in the free competitive enterprise system and all that it entails, I am an even stronger believer in the right of our people to live in a clean and pollution-free environment. To this end, it is my belief that when pollution is found, it should be halted at the source, even if this requires stringent government action against important segments of our national economy."

Water issues were central. Agriculture consumed 89% of the state's strictly limited water supply, while generating only 3% of the state's income. The Groundwater Management Act of 1980, sponsored by Governor Babbitt, raised the price of water to farmers, while cities had to reach a "safe yield" so that the groundwater usage did not exceed natural replenishment. New housing developments had to prove they had enough water for the next hundred years. Desert foliage suitable for a dry region soon replaced water-guzzling grass in Arizona lawns.

Cotton acreage declined dramatically, freeing up land for suburban sprawl as well as releasing large amounts of water and ending the need for expensive specialized machinery. Cotton acreage plunged from 120,000 acres in 1997 to only 40,000 acres in 2005, even as the

federal treasury gave the state's farmers over $678 million in cotton subsidies. Many farmers collect the subsidies but no longer grow cotton. About 80% of the state's cotton is exported to textile factories in China and (since the passage of NAFTA) to Mexico.
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