ON THE WATER
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.