Arizona Daily Sun Editorial • April 30, 2015
The purple dashed line shows the proposed Flagstaff Urban Trail System alignment from Old Route 66 to Townsend Winona Road. The proposed trail will pass through areas where the city and the county are working to restore the Rio de Flag riparian area.
When it comes to the Rio de Flag, Flagstaff can’t give the little ephemeral stream too much attention.
At nearly every twist and turn, the city and volunteer groups have lavished it with trails, holding ponds, marshes, interpretive signs and regular cleanups.
And if there are sections without those amenities, then there are plans to change that. It’s a far cry from when townsfolk referred to the “River de Flag” and used it to dispose of trash – or worse.
In recent decades, the portion of the Rio de Flag that runs through downtown has surfaced as a major flooding threat, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. But although the Corps has placed nearby properties in a 100-year-floodplain, thus limiting their development prospects, it hasn’t come through with much money to fix the problem. After years of delay, the cost to widen and deepen the channel has ballooned to $90 million, although some locals believe the city could do it for about $30 million less. (read more…)
Arizona Daily Sun • April 28, 2015 • By Emery Cowan
David McKee with the city of Flagstaff’s stormwater management department stands above the Rio de Flag waterway. The city of Flagstaff is in the midst of a project to restore the river’s historic watershed. Photo by Emery Cowan © AZ Daily Sun.
After it winds through Flagstaff, squeezing between homes, under roads and through culverts, the Rio de Flag ends up on the eastern edge of the city.
Here, boulders decorated with ancient petroglyphs rest in the shadows of construction trucks, and wildlife tracks appear just feet from a Cemex building materials work yard.
Here, the industrial uses that have been pushed to the city’s edge run up against, and tumble into, a rare ribbon of riparian habitat.
“A lot of this area was taken for granted as a trash dump for a long number of years,” said Andy Bertelsen, the county’s director of public works.
This is also the place where the city of Flagstaff has spent the better part of the past decade restoring the Rio de Flag’s path, step by step. The final vision is to extend the Flagstaff Urban Trail System for 3.3 miles along the newly restored riparian area. The trail would connect Doney Park to the existing FUTS trail near the Flagstaff Mall and wind through Picture Canyon Natural and Cultural Preserve. (read more…)