In 2009, the 40-acre property that contains the historic rock tomb of Sergeant James Cooney, who discovered silver along Mineral Creek in 1870, gained permanent protection. The tomb, which previously was privately owned, lies within the Gila National Forest, completely surrounded by public land. We purchased the property and held it until the U.S. Forest Service secured the funding to acquire it as an addition to Gila National Forest.

In addition to its historic significance, the property protects frontage along Mineral Creek and provides access to a trailhead for the Mineral Creek Trail, which winds through Mineral Creek canyon, a narrow gorge with dramatic, colorful cliffs.

Cooney’s Tomb

Cooney’s Tomb. Photo by Mike Ford/The Conservation Fund Cooney’s Tomb. Photo by Mike Ford/The Conservation Fund Cooney discovered silver in the area while serving in the U.S. Army. After his enlistment ended in 1876, he promptly returned to Mineral Creek to stake his claim; but his hopes for riches were cut short: Apache Indians attacked the mine, killing Cooney in what has become known as the Alma Massacre. He was buried in a rock tomb and his tomb is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The tomb is all that remains of a small mining town called Cooney, established after his death. The town also came to a difficult end—washed away by a flood in 1911. 

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Our Forestry Work
Places We Protect: Historic Lands

Why Do Forests Matter?

At The Conservation Fund, we believe that well-managed forests can be both economically viable and ecologically sustainable, but like all other necessary parts of our national infrastructure, they need to be invested in and maintained. That's why, since 1985, we've protected more than a million forest acres across America. Protecting and maintaining working forests, and the communities that depend on them, remains one of our top conservation priorities.