County, state parks OK after big storms

[Source: John Stanley, The Arizona Republic]

Anyone headed out to enjoy county or state parks or hike the Grand Canyon this weekend should encounter few, if any, problems from this week’s violent storms.

Storms dumped plenty of rain and hail, but there were no reports of significant damage in Maricopa County and Arizona State parks, officials said.

“It was pretty violent,” said John Gunn, supervisor at Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area, north of Cave Creek. “In the nine years I’ve been here at Spur Cross, I’ve never seen it rain that hard. It was unbelievable, nearly whiteout conditions.”

Although hail at the park “pounded the trees pretty good,” he said, the storm did no other damage.

None of the trails is closed at the 2,154-acre park.

None of the other members of the park system reported any damage, according to Maricopa County Parks spokeswoman Dawna Taylor.

The Los Alamos Day Use Area at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood was closed temporarily due to flooding, but is now open, according to Ellen Bilbrey, spokeswoman for the state park system. The park itself was never closed.

The Verde River Greenway Complex, temporarily inaccessible due to high water, is also open again.

There were no other reports of damage to state park trails or properties, Bilbrey said.

At the Grand Canyon, a little hail was reported at Desert View, at the east end of the park, but the weather wasn’t bad at the South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park spokeswoman Maureen Oltrogge said.

All trails in the Canyon are open, as are all facilities.

The lodge on the North Rim lost electrical power Tuesday afternoon. Power has been restored, said Shannon Marcak, also a spokeswoman for the park. The North Rim will close for the season next Saturday.

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Verde River Days at Dead Horse Ranch State Park—Sept 25 and 26

[Source: Ron Dungan, The Arizona Republic]

Photo Credit: Arizona State Parks

The desert changes when you add water.

Plants flourish, and wildlife is drawn to the food and shade that they provide.

The Verde River is one of the few perennial rivers in Arizona, making it a vital resource for wildlife. You can learn about this important ecosystem during Verde River Days, Sept. 25 and 26 at Dead Horse Ranch State Park near Cottonwood.

“Verde River Days is set up to appreciate and talk about the environment because the Verde River is such a unique environment in Arizona,” acting park manager Max Castillo said. “The Verde River runs year-round.”

The Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy, Salt River Project and other organizations will have exhibits at the event. More than 40 exhibits are planned. Activities include sand-castle building, pottery making, canoe rides and hikes. On Sept. 25, the park-admission fee of $7 per vehicle will be waived.

Visitors will be allowed to fish without a license during the event.

“We’ll have some catfish stocked in our lagoons, and there will be some fishing poles and bait available,” Castillo said.

There also will be food, Civil War re-enactments and live entertainment. The Arizona Vintage Tag a Longs, a club whose members are devoted to antique travel trailers, will camp in the park that weekend.

The Verde River Citizens Alliance will take people on canoe and kayak rides down the Verde River at 8 and 10 a.m. Sept. 26. The rides last about an hour and a half, and registration is required. Contact Marsha Foust at 928-634-8738.

Details: 928-634-5283,

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