ON THE WA­TER

Yuma Sun - Visiting In Yuma - - NEWS -

Yuma’s his­tory is cen­tered on the Colorado River.As the flow of the river changed, so did Yuma.

To­day, the Colorado River pro­vides a source of fun and great en­ter­tain­ment for any­one who loves the out­doors.

COLORADO RIVER­FRONT RESTORA­TION

Yuma is a river town – not just by lo­ca­tion but life­style,too.Our his­tory is de­fined by the great re­source of the Colorado River and an act of na­ture that caused gran­ite out­crop­pings to cre­ate one of the few safe and con­ve­nient places to cross the mighty river - the Yuma Cross­ing.

In the mid-1800s Yuma pros­pered with trav­el­ers headed west who used the Yuma rope ferry to cross the river.The lo­ca­tion made Yuma a key mil­i­tary post and trans­ship­ment de­pot.And as tech­nol­ogy changed the needs,Yuma con­tin­ued to play a key role in trans­porta­tion.The first rail­way in Ari­zona crossed at Yuma in 1877, and in 1915 the Ocean-to-Ocean Bridge helped link the first transcon­ti­nen­tal high­way.

The Colorado pro­vided the im­pe­tus for all this eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity. But it wasn’t easy.Yuma was vul­ner­a­ble to se­ri­ous flood­ing as the river brought un­con­trol­lable flows of wa­ter. In the 1930s that changed with the con­struc­tion of dams that served to tame the Colorado.

These dams brought elec­tric­ity and a sta­ble source of ir­ri­gation that en­abled Yuma to be­come the agri­cul­tural com­mu­nity it is to­day.

But the price of that calm­ing was the degra­da­tion of the ecosys­tem along the river.The river­front be­came the home of non-na­tive veg­e­ta­tion, hobo camps and trash dumps. But thanks to the city’s com­mit­ment to cor­rect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment, Congress des­ig­nated a sub­stan­tial por­tion of the Yuma river­front as the Yuma Cross­ing Nat­u­ral Her­itage Area. Since that time,Yu­mans have worked to re­store the river­front.While progress con­tin­ues, to­day we have sev­eral parks that we proudly present for your plea­sure. WEST WET­LANDS

This river­front park is lo­cated at what once was the town dump. But with the site be­ing re­claimed, the 110-acre park at 1st Street and 12th Av­enue fea­tures ra­madas, pic­nic ta­bles, re­strooms, a fish­ing pond, a hum­ming­bird gar­den, bur­row­ing owl habi­tat,walk­ing and eques­trian trails, a boat ramp from which the pub­lic can em­bark on ca­noe and kayak trips on the Colorado River, as well as the re­cently opened Cen­ten­nial Beach on the river. Aside from of­fer­ing fun for an­glers,the pond has proved to be a pop­u­lar set­ting for wed­dings. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.ci.yuma.az.us.

GATE­WAY PARK

This down­town river­front park at the site of the orig­i­nal Yuma Cross­ing fea­tures pic­nic ra­madas, beaches, walk­ing path, re­strooms, shaded park­ing and ac­cess to the Pivot Point.

YUMA EAST WET­LANDS

One of the most am­bi­tious wet­lands restora­tion projects in the South­west, this park will give you the feel for what na­ture in­tended for the river­front.Fol­low the trail un­derneath the Ocean-to-Ocean Bridge along the river and ex­plore the beau­ti­ful marshes and cot­ton­wood forests.

En­joy the river with these of­fer­ings:

• Re­serve pic­nic ra­madas: Call City Parks & Recre­ation Depart­ment at 928-373-5243

• Group ca­noe and kayak trips: Call City Parks & Recre­ation Depart­ment at 928373-5243

SUN­RISE POINT PARK

The Quechan Na­tion built what has been de­scribed as the crown jewel of the Yuma East Wet­lands. It is Sun­rise Point Park, lo­cated at 1011 Levee Road, just south of Paradise Casino. Funded by an Ari­zona State Parks grant and U.S.Bureau of Recla­ma­tion fund­ing, the $1.2 mil­lion park boasts a small lake for swim­ming and fish­ing, two ra­madas, a plaza area, and an am­phithe­ater, plus an area along the river known as the Elder Vil­lage.

LAKES

ON THE RIVER

The dams that tamed the Colorado also cre­ated lakes and back chan­nels that of­fer some great out­door recre­ation.

We’ll take you on a trip up the river and stop at the lakes you just might want to ex­plore. From boat­ing to fish­ing to camp­ing and more, you’ll be able to pick your fa­vorite.

Since nearly 95 per­cent of the Colorado’s wa­ter is di­verted at Im­pe­rial Dam, the best boat­ing is north (up-river) of the dam.We’ll ex­plore Mit­try Lake though,as it has some great fea­tures.

MIT­TRY LAKE WILDLIFE AREA

Bureau of Land Man­age­ment: 928-317-3200 www.azgfd.gov/out­door_recre­ation/ wildlife_area_mit­try_lake.shtml

Mit­try Lake Wildlife Area of­fers ap­prox­i­mately 600 acres of wa­ter and 2,900 acres of land. Hav­ing re­cently un­der­gone re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion work,in­clud­ing marsh dredg­ing, re-veg­e­ta­tion and fish habi­tat im­prove­ment,Mit­try Lake is an ideal lo­ca­tion for hunt­ing,sport fish­ing and bird watch­ing or sim­ply to ad­mire the con­flu­ence of wa­ter in the desert.

Camp­ing: There are no fa­cil­i­ties or des­ig­nated ar­eas for camp­ing, but camp­ing is al­lowed. Call the Bureau of Land Man­age­ment Yuma Field Of­fice at (928) 317-3200 for more in­for­ma­tion.

Boat­ing: There is a three-lane boat launch ramp for mo­tor­ized boat­ing on the lake. Nu­mer­ous wa­ter­ways con­nect to the main lake body and make ex­plor­ing by boat a pleas­ant ex­pe­ri­ence.

Re­cent im­prove­ments

to the main boat launch area in­clude hand­i­cap park­ing, paving of the up­per park­ing area and the in­stal­la­tion of a new ADA-ap­proved re­stroom.

Fish­ing: The most com­mon species en­coun­tered in Mit­try Lake are large­mouth bass, flat­head and chan­nel cat­fish, bluegill, tilapia, crap­pie and carp.

In­ter­pre­tive Area: Betty’s Kitchen at Mit­try Lake, which is op­er­ated by the Yuma Field Of­fice of the U.S. Bureau of Land Man­age­ment, boasts a wide va­ri­ety of flora and fauna which may be sighted along the trail. Land Ac­cess: From Yuma take High­way 95 (16th Street) east to Av­enue 7E.Take Av­enue 7E north past the La­guna Dam, about nine miles. Betty’s Kitchen is on the left just past the dam.

IM­PE­RIAL DAM

Bureau of Land Man­age­ment: 928-317-3200 http://www.fws.gov/south­west/refuges/Ari­zona/im­pe­rial.html

Im­pe­rial Dam and de­silt­ing works span the Colorado River 18 miles north­east of Yuma.The pur­pose of the dam is to raise the wa­ter sur­face 25 feet and pro­vide con­trolled grav­ity flow of wa­ter into the All-Amer­i­can and Gila Grav­ity Main Canals.The de­silt­ing works re­move most the sed­i­ment car­ried by the Colorado River to pre­vent clog­ging of the canals and sub­se­quent ex­ten­sive main­te­nance.

Long-term vis­i­tor area

The Im­pe­rial Dam Long Term Vis­i­tor Area (LTVA) was cre­ated in 1983 to ful­fill the needs of win­ter vis­i­tors and to pro­tect the lo­cal desert ecosys­tem from over-use. The camp­ground is ap­prox­i­mately 3,500 acres in size,flat land­scape,sparsely veg­e­tated with plants such as cre­osote bushes,

palo verde trees, iron­wood trees, mesquite trees and var­i­ous species of cacti.

Fa­cil­i­ties: Gray wa­ter dump sites, two re­stroom fa­cil­i­ties with out­door show­ers, black wa­ter dump site with wa­ter, trash re­moval, ra­madas and dance floor / mu­sic per­for­mance area.

Fea­tures: Cul­tural sites, rock­hound­ing, watch­able wildlife,unique desert scenery, hik­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, se­cu­rity, fish­ing, boat­ing and swim­ming. Camp­ing: Fees are re­quired.

Land Ac­cess: From Yuma, go north on High­way 95 for 25 miles.Turn west on Martinez Lake Road for 13 miles and fol­low signs to vis­i­tor cen­ter.

SQUAW LAKE

Bureau of Land Man­age­ment: 928-317-3200 www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/el­cen­tro/ recre­ation/poi/yuma.html

A mile up­stream from Im­pe­rial Dam, Squaw Lake is a pre­mier de­vel­oped recre­ation site.The lake is a pop­u­lar day use and camp­ing area, with hol­i­day week­ends at­tract­ing large crowds. Camp­ing is lim­ited to 14 days in a 28-day pe­riod and costs $15 per night per ve­hi­cle.Ameni­ties in­clude hand­i­capped ac­ces­si­ble re­strooms, out­door show­ers, fire rings, potable wa­ter, trash re­moval and two boat ramps.

Land Ac­cess: Go to Se­na­tor Wash Dam & Reser­voir (see be­low) and con­tinue.

SE­NA­TOR WASH DAM & RESER­VOIR

Bureau of Land Man­age­ment: 928-317-3200 www.recre­ation.gov/recAreaDe­tails. do?con­trac­tCode=NRSO&recAreaId= 1881&con­trac­tCode=126

Se­na­tor Wash Dam and Reser­voir, an off-stream pump­ing fa­cil­ity, is lo­cated about 18 miles north­east of Yuma, on the Cal­i­for­nia side of the Colorado River two miles up­stream from Im­pe­rial Dam and at the river-end of Se­na­tor Wash. The pur­pose of this strate­gic off stream re­ten­tion reser­voir is to im­prove wa­ter sched­ul­ing of the Colorado River.This is ac­com­plished by stor­ing part of the river flow up­stream of Im­pe­rial Dam when it is not needed and re­leas­ing it to the river for down­stream use when needed.

Recre­ation Op­por­tu­ni­ties: Boat­ing, Camp­ing,

Fish­ing, Hik­ing, Off

High­way Ve­hi­cle,

Pic­nick­ing,

Recre­ational

Ve­hi­cles,

Wa­ter Sports,Wildlife View­ing.

Land Ac­cess: Take In­ter­state 8 to Win­ter­haven.Take Win­ter­haven exit to Im­pe­rial County Road S-24.Go north 20 miles to Fer­gu­son Lake Road.Turn left and fol­low signs 4 miles - Se­na­tor Wash is 3/4 mile east of High­way 78.

On the Ari­zona side of the Colorado River,Fisher’s Land­ing and Martinez Lake are the pri­mary ac­cess points.

MARTINEZ LAKE RE­SORT

928-783-9589 www.mar­tine­zlake.com

Martinez Lake Re­sort of­fers a fullser­vice cantina and restau­rant, houses and cab­ins for daily or monthly rental, camp­ing, boat launch, gas dock and bait shop.Also of­fered are or­ga­nized daily and overnight ca­noe trips,plus rentals for pon­toons, fish­ing boats, ca­noes and kayaks. Land Ac­cess: North on High­way 95 past the ‘big guns’ at YPG, turn left on Martinez Lake Road.Con­tinue west to Red Cloud Mine Road for Im­pe­rial Na­tional Wildlife Refuge or ahead and left to Fisher’s Land­ing and right to Lake Martinez Re­sort.

FISHER’S LAND­ING

928-539-9495 www.fish­er­s­land­in­gre­sort.com

There are a bar and restau­rant, bait shop, fuel dock, con­ve­nience store and RV camp­ing.

Fish­ing:The con­struc­tion of the La­guna and Im­pe­rial Dams on the Colorado River up­stream cre­ated a se­ries of lakes and back chan­nels that pro­vide a wealth of fish­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.In­cluded are:

• Mit­try Lake

• Se­na­tor Wash Reser­voir

• Squaw Lake

• Martinez Lake

• Fer­gu­son Lake

• The river it­self at Pi­ca­cho State Recre­ation Area on the Cal­i­for­nia side.

The catch can in­clude large­mouth bass, small­mouth bass,striped bass,flat­head and chan­nel cat­fish, tilapia, crap­pie, mul­let and bluegill.

For in­for­ma­tion on the fish­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties con­tact:

Bureau of Land Man­age­ment – 928.317.3200

Ari­zona Game & Fish – 928.342.0091 www.azgfd.gov/h-f/fish­ing.shtml

The web site will also fill you in on li­cens­ing re­quire­ments and has a weekly fish­ing re­port.

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