Crescent Moon Ranch, AZ 2021
Crescent Moon Ranch, AZ 2021

Crescent Moon Ranch, AZ 2021

Crescent Moon Ranch, AZ 2021

For those familiar with Sedona, this well-known ranch at the base of Cathedral Rocks needs no introduction. Join us this fall in the stunning red rock-strewn scenery of northern Arizona!

PROJECT PARTNER:  Coconino National Forest

SESSION DATESSeptember 19-24, September 26 – October 1, October 3-8, and October 24-29

Project Site Description & History

Crescent Moon Ranch was established in the late 1800s by cattleman John Lee, who’d come over from Prescott. The land was historically inhabited by Apache, Western Apache, Hopitutskwa, Pueblos, and Hohokam Nations (learn more). According to NPR member station KNAU, “The ranch sits at the base of Cathedral Rocks south of Sedona. It was first homesteaded by Prescott cattleman John Lee in 1880, and was originally called OK Ranch. Lee put in an irrigation ditch, garden, and orchard, but he soon left. Since then, the ranch has changed hands—and been repurposed—several times. It became the home of the Schuerman and Dumas families who raised children and built a school there. The orchard was turned into a thriving part of Oak Creek’s renowned produce-growing community, supplying apples and peaches to Jerome and Flagstaff. With the main Jerome-to-Sedona road passing right through, then-Dumas Ranch became a social hub of dancing and dining. Verde Valley entrepreneur Andrew Baldwin bought the property in 1936 and rechristened it Palo Bonito. The Baldwins built a unique ranch house and 12-foot-diameter water wheel to pump water and provide electricity. Their famous peaches won prizes at the county fair. But by the late 1970s, tourism had replaced agriculture as Sedona’s cash crop – and the ranch was for sale again. The U.S. Forest Service and Trust for Public Lands acquired it in 1980. Crescent Moon Ranch was added to the National Register of Historic Places in April this year—the first such designation by the Coconino National Forest in more than 20 years. Now visitors can swim, hike and picnic there—or rent the old ranch house for a night—in this newest of Crescent Moon’s many phases.” Listen to the story at KNAU here.

In turn, our partner on the forest shares this history: “The OK Ranch Historic District is located adjacent to Red Rock Crossing near the City of Sedona in northeastern Yavapai County, Arizona. The ranch buildings, structures, and agricultural fields of the district represent decades of agrarian use extending from the 1880s through the end of the historic period (i.e., 50 years before the present). Thirty cultural resources are included in the 45.19 acres comprising the district. The eighteen resources that contribute to the historic character of the district include eight buildings, six structures, and four sites (four agricultural fields). The twelve noncontributing resources include six buildings, two structures, three sites, and one object. Development of the property for public recreational use has resulted in the conversion of one field to a parking and picnicking area and the demolition of the ranch foreman’s house. Despite those impacts, the ranch still retains a significant concentration and linkage of historic resources with sufficient integrity of location, design, materials,workmanship, feeling, setting, and association to merit listing on the National Register.”

Given multiple resources regarding the site’s history, it is clear this location is highly significant. Moreover, Sedona, AZ is a celebrated tourist destination not only for the beauty of the surrounding landscape and associated recreational opportunities, but also for its New Age and Spiritual “vibes.” The Guardian published an interesting article on the latter aspects of the city in 2017. Consider taking some time to experience the purported “energy vortex” near Crescent Moon Ranch, and exploring others in the area, while volunteering here!

HistoriCorps’ first phase of work at Crescent Moon Ranch was in 2016, when volunteers from the general public worked alongside youth from Arizona Conservation Corps (AZCC). Now, five years later, we are thrilled to return to preserve elements of several outbuildings – again in partnership with AZCC! (Note: AZCC will be working on different sessions than general public volunteers). Register soon – spots are sure to go fast!

Location and Logistics

PROJECT PARTNER: Coconino National Forest

SESSION DATES:  September 19-24, September 26 – October 1, October 3-8, and October 24-29. Please plan to arrive at our campsite no earlier than 5pm and no later than 7pm on the first day of your session.

ACCESS:    Tent camping only 

We will be camping right onsite near Crescent Moon Ranch! No RVs/trailers; those with tents, truck campers, and campervans can access this site.


ABOUT VOLUNTEERING: HistoriCorps projects are free for volunteers! HistoriCorps will provide all meals, tools, training, equipment, and a campsite. Volunteers are responsible for their own transportation to the campsite, sleeping equipment, work clothes and boots, and other personal gear.

Scope of Work


HistoriCorps is committed to educating and training volunteers in preservation skills, with an overarching mission of inspiring a preservation ethic in all those involved. Learning and working alongside expert HistoriCorps field staff, volunteers will learn the skills necessary to preserve and stabilize historic structures at Crescent Moon Ranch.

  • Cedar shingle roofing – 15%
  • Stone foundation, stone stair, and sandstone wall masonry repointing – 15%
  • Siding repair/replacement – 30%
  • Corrugated metal roof installation – 20%
  • Repair structural components of a hay barn – 15%
  • Fabricate replacement doors using historical evidence for template – 5%

Please note: Tasks vary by day and by week, depending on a variety of factors including: weather, project priorities, previous groups’ work, and more. Though it is likely you will get to learn and practice most or all of the above tasks, it is not guaranteed. The higher percentage of the scope a particular task is, the more likely you will get to practice it.

Sign Up!

We’re thrilled this project has inspired you to volunteer! Choose your session and register below:

You will know your registration was successful when you receive a confirmation email. Contact for assistance.

HistoriCorps does not charge for its volunteering projects. HistoriCorps relies on donations to continue engaging volunteers to save significant historical sites across America for generations to come. Your donation of any amount will make an incredible difference! Increase your impact – make a generous gift today.

Volunteer Logistics, Policies, and Advice

We’re so glad you’re interested in joining this project! If you’re new to our community, review the Volunteer FAQ first! Please note the following logistics and policies:

  • Review our COVID protocols here
  • Volunteering with HistoriCorps is free! We will provide all meals, tools, training, equipment, and a campsite or shared indoor lodging. Dinner is not provided on the first night.
  • Volunteers are responsible for bringing their own gear, sturdy work clothes and boots, and appropriate sleeping equipment. Check the average temperatures before you start packing – the nights and mornings may be colder than you anticipate! Then, read this advice about how to stay warm when tent camping in colder places.
  • Campsite accessibility varies by project. Some projects can accommodate tents only; others can accommodate small RVs. Please review the project site description above for more information, and if you’re still not sure, email for help.
  • If this project does not offer showers, you might want to consider bringing a solar shower or research other methods to clean up after the work day.
  • Volunteer crew sizes generally range from 4-8 volunteers, with two HistoriCorps staff that lead and train volunteers in the work.
  • Safety is one of HistoriCorps’ top priorities, and volunteers can contribute to a safe working environment by ensuring their physical fitness is adequate for the work. See above for this project’s scope of work and difficulty level. Please, call us if you are not quite sure if a project is a good fit for your skills or fitness level. We may be able to suggest a project more suitable and enjoyable for you.
  • Dogs are generally allowed to accompany their humans in project campsites (actually, we love having dogs join us around the campfire!). Dogs are not permitted on the job site for everyone's safety. HOWEVER: HistoriCorps also follows the rules and regulations of our project partner. If the project partner does not permit dogs onsite then HistoriCorps is no exception. Please ask HistoriCorps or the project partner directly if you have any questions about whether Fido is welcome.