Ironwood Forest National Monument is located in the Sonoran Desert and the U.S. state of Arizona. Created by Bill Clinton by Presidential Proclamation 7320 on June 9, 2000, the 129,022 acre (522 km2) monument is managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, an agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior. Although the National Monument status applies only to federal lands, the monument perimeter surrounds about 189,000 acres (765 km2) contiguous of federal and private land holdings, including Arizona State School Trust lands.
The Ironwood Forest National Monument is managed for multiple uses including recreation, cattle grazing and mining, although new mining claims and motorized off-road travel are prohibited by the establishing Proclamation. Livestock grazing, which has occurred continuously for at least the last 125 years within the monument, is currently managed at very light or conservative levels of approximately one cow per every 300 to 400 acres (1.6 km2). Domestic sheep and goats are prohibited as a protection to the bighorn sheep. The Monument offers almost no surface water but contains sufficient groundwater resources.
The cattle ranchers maintain more than 80 individual man-made water sources within the monument, in addition to the 14 water sources maintained by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society. The presence of human-supplied water supports the exceptional abundance of birds, mule deer, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, mountain lions and other wildlife found in the monument.