Class Information for Winter 2019: MIGRATORY BIRD HIKE IN THE HASSAYAMPA PRESERVE, 8:30-10:30 am,, Friday, March 22, at the Preserve (W175)
The Hassayampa River Preserve is located in the northern reaches of the Sonoran Desert. The preserve is a flight path for hundreds of migratory birds, making it one of the top bird-watching areas in Central Arizona. In this arid environment, the Preserve is ecologically significant because of the high-quality cottonwood-willow forest it protects. This streamside forest or "riparian" plant community has evolved along the continuously flowing stretch of the lower Hassayampa River. For most of its length, the Hassayampa, or "the river that flows upside down," runs underground. Its riverbed is dry and sandy. But, along a five mile section of the 770-acre Preserve the river flows above ground year round. Water-loving plants thrive here thus making the Preserve one of the best remaining examples of riparian habitat in Arizona. An estimated 85% of the wildlife in Arizona depend on riparian areas for survival, but less than 10% of the stateâ€™s rivers and streams remain today in their natural condition. Many of these streamside ecosystems have been lost in the last decade due to development. This stretch of the Hassayampa River is being protected for wildlife, research, and future generations. The Hassayampa River Preserve is owned by The Nature Conservancy and managed by Maricpoa County Parks. Hassayampa River Preserve provides many opportunities for visitors to explore this natural ecosystem that will be included in the EXPLORE! tour: Seeing and observing migratory birds and hiking trails along the river channel, through the dense mesquite forests, and around a natural spring-fed lake. A dense forest provides shade and tranquility from the surrounding Sonoran desert heat as well as allowing habitat for a rich variety of reptiles and mammals. The entrance garden provides a demonstration of xeriscaping landscaping with native plants. The Visitor Center with exhibits on water, watersheds, and wildlife of the area in addition to native artifacts and natural history exhibits. The tour begins at 9:00 a.m., so plan to arrive and be ready to start by 8:15am. Wear good walking shoes, bring binoculars, water etc. You are welcome to stay at the Preserve after the tour, so you may want to bring a snack or lunch with you. The Preserve address is 49614 Highway US 60.