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HIKE THE HASSAYAMPA PRESERVE, 9:00 am to 11:00 am, Friday, November 9, at the Preserve at 49614 Highway US 60 (near Wickenburg), limited to 24 people; $15 fee.
The Hassayampa River Preserve is 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 Preserve the river flows above ground year-round. A dense forest provides shade and tranquility from the Sonoran Desert heat and a rich habitat for a variety of reptiles and mammals. The tour begins at 9:00 a.m., so plan to arrive and be ready to start by 8:45 a.m. 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 lunch to enjoy in the Preserve or go a few miles up the road and have lunch in Wickenburg.
Instructor Jessica Bland, is the Ranger at the Preserve and previously was the Interpretive Ranger at White Tank Mountain Regional Park. Prior to working with Maricopa County Parks, she was a park ranger and an archaeologist for the Federal government.