For those of you who don’t know the Phoenix area, there is a river that slices through the city cutting us into north and south sections. That river is called The Salt River or Rio Salado and for the most part it is just a dry bed. However, from time to time when we have had an especially wet winter and spring, it can rage out of control and tear things up. It hasn’t done that for many years and engineers and environmentalists have been working hard to keep it that way.
Recently I discovered a wonderful project that has converted what was once, quite literally a dump into a lush wildlife habitat. Five miles of the river bed has been cleared of debris and trash to create 600 acres of native wetland and riparian habitats. It is said that over 1000 tons of old tires alone, were taken out of the area and transferred to recycling facilities. As a result, the project has turned what was once an embarrassing eyesore into and eco-system that supports both flora and fauna. (For those who are familiar with Phoenix, it runs between 19th Avenue and 16th Streets just south of downtown.)
The area boasts ten miles of trails for hikers, equestrians, and bikers with staging areas and parking lots to accommodate cars and horse trailers. There are also facilities available where educational programs are presented for school children as well as adults. There are monthly bird walks scheduled and a lot of other activities in the cooler months between October and May. The information I saw said that over 200 species of birds have been identified in the area.