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Arizona State Office
Release Date: 09/24/12
Contacts: Dennis Godfrey (602) 417-9499,    
  Sarah Muench (602) 262-7110,    

America's Great Outdoors

Ceremonial activity at the Phoenix Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area celebrating an America’s Great Outdoors project.

When:  9 a.m. Wednesday, September 26, 2012.

Where:  City of Phoenix Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area, 2439 S. Central Avenue, Phoenix (northeast corner of the Salt River Bridge).

What:  Creation of a Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. Work includes building a protective wall, planting trees and rehabbing a stream. This event involves a ceremonial completion of the wall, tree planting and a ribbon cutting officially opening the Sanctuary. Work on the Sanctuary was done by Bureau of Land Management (BLM) youth crews. The labor is being paid for by the Workforce Investment Boards of Phoenix and Maricopa County, who also recruited Arizona Call-a-Teen Youth Resources to provide the crew. The crew was trained by the Student Conservation Association.

Who:  Mike Pool, the acting director of the BLM; Ray Suazo, BLM Arizona state director; and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. Each of the three will speak briefly and then participate in completing the project.

Why:  To recognize a broad partnership of federal, state and local agencies involved in this America’s Great Outdoors project.

Background on the event:

A youth crew (18-24 years old) has cleaned a small stream and built a rock wall to discourage hiking traffic in an area designed to be a monarch butterfly sanctuary. The crew has also planted cottonwood trees in the area, which was damaged by fire about a year ago. The trees are to attract and sustain monarch butterflies that migrate through the area annually.

Background on America’s Great Outdoors:

America’s Great Outdoors is a national initiative to conserve lands and provide recreational opportunities in each state. Each project is a result of partnerships with federal, state, and local partnerships.

The Rio Salado Rivers Pathways Program, which includes the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area, is a designated America’s Great Outdoors project for Arizona.

This is a collection of nine projects ranging geographically from central Phoenix to Lake Pleasant to near Mayer. Each project involves work by crews organized through the BLM Arizona Youth initiative. The youths are trained through an outdoor curriculum developed by the BLM and the Phoenix Union School District and then get hands-on experience on the projects. Multiple agencies and organizations are involved in each aspect of the program.

Here are the projects:

  • North side of Salt River (at Central Avenue). This is the project being recognized at the Sept. 26 event.
  • South side of Salt River (at Central Avenue). Work at the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center, which includes removing buffelgrass, trash pickup, and restoring habitat for the desert pupfish and Gila top minnow. This project also includes training students in environmental literacy. Work is complete. Students involved in the training continue riparian monitoring at the Agua Fria National Monument, north of Phoenix. 
  • Lake Pleasant Regional Park 1. Arizona Game & Fish Department to oversee construction of new boat ramps, a visitors’ area, camping areas and a camp host site.
  • Lake Pleasant Regional Park 2. Maricopa County Parks & Recreation Department has built a three-mile trail.
  • Lake Pleasant Regional Park 3. Six miles of fence repair to keep livestock from entering public recreation areas.
  • Agua Fria National Monument at the Cordes Junction Riverbend. New trail constructed from the Riverbend site to the 1891 Schoolhouse.
  • Black Canyon National Recreation Trail 1. Copper Mountain 5-mile loop completed
  • Black Canyon National Recreation Trail 2. Three miles of non-motorized trail and 6.5 miles of motorized trail completed.
  • Big Bug Trailhead. Five-acre trailhead and staging area for horses to be built.

Here are the partners in the River Pathways Program:

Arizona Call-a-Teen-Youth Resources
Arizona Game and Fish Department
Arizona Off-Highway Coalition
Audubon Arizona
Black Canyon Trail Coalition
Bureau of Reclamation
City of Phoenix Mayor’s Office
City of Phoenix Parks & Recreation Department
Friends of Agua Fria National Monument
Maricopa County Parks and Recreation
Maricopa County Workforce Connections
Phoenix College
Student Conservation Association
Workforce Investment Boards – Phoenix, Maricopa County and Yavapai County
Yavapai County Board of Supervisors

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2014, the BLM generated $5.2 billion in receipts from public lands.

Last updated: 04-06-2015