In January 2017, after more than a quarter-century as a Nature Conservancy preserve, the preserve will have a new partner and part owner: Maricopa County’s Parks and Recreation Department. Additional information about the preserve can be found at the Maricopa County web site.
For most of its 100-mile course through the desert, the Hassayampa River flows only underground. But within the preserve its crystal clear waters emerge, flowing above ground throughout the year. This lush streamside habitat is home to some of the desert’s most spectacular wildlife. Yet many of them have become dangerously imperiled as riparian areas have disappeared from the Arizona landscape.
In the Sonoran Desert, riparian areas nourish cottonwood-willow forests, one of the rarest and most threatened forest types in North America. An estimated 90% of these critical wet landscapes have been lost, damaged or degraded in the last century. This loss threatens at least 80% of Arizona wildlife, which depend upon riparian habitats for survival.
Having protected this unique area, and having invested in its restoration, The Nature Conservancy will continue to be involved in monitoring conservation at the preserve. Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department will continue to make this amazing place a great place for the public to experience the out-of-doors.
The Vulture Mountains Recreation Area encompasses 71,000 acres of Arizona's Sonoran Desert landscape near Hassayampa River Preserve. © Maricopa County Parks & Recreation Department