Patagonia Lake State Park is one of our all-time favorite places. Our love affair began in November 2006 when we volunteered at Sonoita Creek State Natural Area, a subunit of the state park. We come back to renew friendships with our fellow volunteers, to hike in the natural area and its beautiful views, and to enjoy the large numbers and varieties of birds that can be found here.
Arizona, perhaps even more than other states, is in dire financial trouble. As a result, a number of state parks have been closed and others have been cut back considerably. Patagonia Lake is no exception. Although the campground is doing well, the Sonoita Creek State Natural Area subunit has been all but closed. All five of the permanent personnel that were there when we were have been transferred elsewhere or have left Arizona State Parks employment. The visitor center is only open on weekends by a cadre of volunteers who refuse to accept total closure.
What has not changed is the beauty of the setting, the animal life, and the rich assortment of some 320 species of birds that are either permanent residents or just passing through on their way north or south.