Louise Speaks: As I have said previously, we are trying to visit all the state parks in Arizona. We have already seen three today and this is our fourth and final stop of touring State Parks in northern Arizona. We actually had a hard time to find this state park. We weren’t even sure if it was a state park as it is just along the river. We ended up asking a park ranger, and this green belt area where we were searching was in fact the Verde Valley Greenway State Park.
During the spring of 2007, a group of long-time river activists wanted to take a more “hands-on” approach to protect the longest free-flowing stream in Arizona, the Verde River. At the same time, Arizona State Parks were seeking a non-governmental partner to assist with conservation and public outreach efforts to support the Verde River Greenway State Natural Area. Friends of Verde River Greenway emerged as an affiliate of the Arizona State Parks Foundation committing to river restoration and enhancement projects as well as introductory canoe trips on the river. In partnership with other environmental and civic organizations, FVRG conducted regular weekend volunteer projects to protect and enhance this delicate riparian corridor while promoting stewardship in the community.
The nearly 180-mile long Verde River is a significant resource in Arizona. It is one of the desert’s last free-flowing rivers sustaining a large regional wildlife population and a lush riparian community. In 1986, the state purchased the area that is now known as the Verde River Greenway State Natural Area between the Tuzigoot and Bridgeport bridges. The Greenway encompasses nearly 480 acres and is six miles long. The 3,300 foot elevation means mild temperatures for hiking along the Verde, canoeing, picnicking, fishing, or just wading in the cool water. Life along the river changes with the season, giving visitors a glimpse of great blue heron, black hawks, coyotes, raccoons, mule deer, beavers, ducks, frogs, and toads. The Verde River and surrounding riparian corridor support nearly twenty threatened or endangered species including river otter, southwestern bald eagles, southwestern willow flycatchers, and lowland leopard frogs.
The area along the river is very green, hence the name. There are many water activities along the river and it is one of Arizona’s free natural treasures. There is no camping at this location, but Dead Horse State Park is just around the corner. We visited Dead Horse, but we have not camped there so we are going to wait to blog about Dead Horse, once we have camped there. Greenway State Park is a fun place to go to get out of the Phoenix heat and just spend a day at the river doing fun stuffs or doing nothing. It’s a great park and a great place to visit.