Agua Fria National Monument, Ancient battleground? Worth a closer look? Definitely

[Source: Verde New.com, Steve Ayers] – – If you pass through Canyon de Chelly or walk the banks of Beaver Creek beneath Montezuma Castle, you get an immediate and clear picture of why both are national monuments. Like most of the nation’s inventory, their unique natural and/or cultural qualities are on prominent display. But driving south from the Verde Valley on Interstate 17, looking east as you pass between Dugas Road and Sunset Point rest area, the landscape does not immediately lend itself to either of those prerequisites.

Nevertheless, what you would see out the driver’s side is the Agua Fria National Monument — 71,000 acres spread across a high mesa, split down the middle by the upper Agua Fria River canyon. It is a noticeably barren and often windswept tract of low-lying hills and volcanic grasslands that, at first glance, lack any redeeming value. But don’t be fooled by the cover. The Agua Fria National Monument is worth a closer look. [Note: to read the full article, click here.]

Arizona Lottery funds benefit Yuma-area projects

[Source: YumaSun.com, Joyce Lobeck] – –  Over the years, the Arizona Lottery has provided millions of dollars for projects in the Yuma area that make it a better place to live and visit.  Those projects range from parks and recreation to wildlife preservation, education, public health, transportation and economic development, said Art Macias, executive director of Arizona Lottery, during a presentation Tuesday to Yuma-area leaders and community members. He repeated the presentation in San Luis, Ariz., for south county representatives.

Since Arizona voters first approved the lottery in 1981, nearly $30 million has gone to help fund projects in Yuma County stretching from San Luis to Wellton, Macias said. A good share of that funding has gone to local transportation needs as a partner with the city of Yuma and Yuma County, he said. Lottery money also helped fund the rehabilitation of the Yuma County Courthouse and the Historic Yuma Theatre, the development of Gateway Park and the West Wetlands along the riverfront, the Urgent Care and Family Center in Somerton, electricity for street lighting in San Luis and street maintenance in Wellton. [Note: to read the full article click here.]

New grant will launch Hohokam ruins project in Mesa AZ

[Source: the Arizona Republic, Gary Nelson] – – After more than 20 years, Mesa finally has enough money to begin work on an architectural park at the Mesa Grande ruins.  A $100,000 grant from the Arizona Historic Preservation Heritage Fund, coupled with a previous $150,000 from Indian gaming money, will allow the public to begin touring the ruins as early as next year.  Tom Wilson, director of the city-owned Museum of Natural History, said last spring the first $150,000, courtesy of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, was spent for site planning and digital mapping of the fragile west Mesa spot. [Note: to read the full article click here.]

Fort Verde in Camp Verde AZ facelift needs help

[Source: CVBugle.com, Steve Ayers] – – Rangers call for volunteers – – When the military constructed Fort Verde, they built it with the belief that the fort would remain serviceable for 10 to 20 years … max.  They had no idea that parts of it would still be standing 137 years later.  Constructed for the most part of adobe, it is a testament to the love and care given over the years by local volunteers and Arizona State Parks employees that anything remains standing.

That love and care is once again being requested, as the staff of the park embarks on a major repair project, starting at the Surgeon’s Quarters on the north end and working their way south to the park’s administrative building. “We are putting out a want ad, if you will,” says Dennis Lockhart, assistant manger of Fort Verde State Historic Park.  “Anyone who wants to come scrape paint, do wood work or plaster, or has skills in anything that might be of help, they are welcome to come over and be a volunteer.”  [Note: to read the full article click here.]