KOFA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
Kofa National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1939. The refuge encompasses 665,400 acres of pristine desert that is home to the desert bighorn sheep and the California fan palm, the only native palm in Arizona.
Bighorn sheep are found chiefly in the two mountain ranges that dominate the refuge landscape - the Kofa and Castle Dom Mountains. Although these mountains are not especially high, they are extremely rugged and rise sharply from the surrounding desert plains, providing excellent bighorn sheep habitat. A wide variety of plant life is found throughout the refuge.
Notable wildlife species found in the area include the white-winged dove, desert tortoise, and desert kit fox. Approximately 800 to 1,000 bighorn sheep now live in the refuge and, in recent years, this herd has provided animals for transplanting throughout Arizona and neighboring states.
Birds that are likely to be seen at Kofa include American kestrel, white-winged dove, northern flicker, Say's phoebe, cactus wren, phainopepla, and orange-crowned warbler.
The Kofa Mountain barberry (a rare plant found only in southwest Arizona) occurs on the refuge.
In the early part of this century, a number of mines were established in the mountainous areas of the refuge. One of the most notable was the King of Arizona mine. It gave the Kofa Mountains their name-- "Kofa" being contracted from King of Arizona.
Kofa was included in the desert military training exercises conducted by Gerneal Patton during World War II. Unexploded ordinance may be encountered during cross-country hiking. Picking up items that appear to be military hardware could be hazardous to your health.