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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

VERDE RIVER GREENWAY

VERDE RIVER GREENWAY Clarkdale One of only a handful of free-flowing waterways remaining in Arizona, the Verde River flows south from its origins in the Big Chino aquifer near Paulden to the confluence with the Salt River on the outskirts of Metro Phoenix. The Verde River Greenway is a segment of the desert stream designated as “wild and scenic” to be preserved for its recreational, ecological significance and historical values. Burgeoning with riparian gallery forests, fish, birds, spectacular scenery and a population of rare river otters, the area is a favorite destination for birding, swimming, canoe & kayaking and hiking. Although most visitors to this area respect its fragility and unique beauty---a few fringe members of the human race still manage to foul the landscape with the accouterments of their games---beer cans, spent ammo shells, food wrappers and (my personal favorite) paintball wads. (Note to self: insert video clip of Sly Stallone with machinegun here—aaaaaaAAARRRRRR). As I would not expect those who shoot up Milwaukee’s Best beer cans along the banks of a national treasure to appreciate my diatribe on sanitation and habitat preservation, I will skip directly to the topic of what you and I can do to help clean up after these bozos. Check out the Web site link below for Friends of Verde River Greenway. This tenacious group of volunteers organize regular clean-up events. Why not pitch in---there’s one coming up on Saturday, May 8, 2010. LENGTH: up to 36 miles RATING: easy with some mild route-finding ELEVATION: 3,300 feet BEST SEASONS: September - May DISTANCE FROM PHOENIX: 105 miles GETTING THERE: CLARKDALE ACCESS: From Phoenix, travel north on I-17 for 90 miles to exit 287 for AZ 260. Go left (west) on 260 and continue for 14 miles to the town of Cottonwood. Once in Cottonwood, go straight through town on Main Street and Broadway (US 89A) following the signs to Tuzigoot National Monument toward the town of Clarkdale. Turn right onto the signed road to Tuzigoot, cross the Verde River Bridge (at the half-mile point) and take the first right onto a dirt road that leads to a large array of parking circles. From here, work your way down to the water and follow the river. DEAD HORSE RANCH STATE PARK ACCESS: From Phoenix, go north on Interstate 17 to Camp Verde (exit 287) and take Highway 260 west to Cottonwood. Turn left on Main Street (89A toward Clarkdale) and continue to 10th Street. Turn right on 10th St. and proceed over the Verde River Bridge to the park entrance. From the park entrance, take the second right on the road leading to the Mesquite Day Use Area. The trail starts in the left parking area. THERE IS A FEE TO ENTER THE PARK. INFORMATION: Friends of Verde River Greenway: http://verderivergreenway.org/ Dead Horse Ranch State Park: http://azstateparks.com/parks/VERI/index.html