Day 29: FAMILY ADVENTURE: Visit Rio Salado Restoration SiteDay 29: FAMILY ADVENTURE: Visit Rio Salado Restoration SiteVisit a special riparian habitat located right in the heart of downtown Phoenix.<div class="ExternalClass57E2285AA1F74B78A4097A02B03EB80D"><p>​Take your family to experience a riparian habitat without even leaving town. Relax under 14 acres of cottonwood and willow trees, look for animal tracks, do bird watching for 200+ species, and look out for fish in the Salt River. The city of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department even has a bird list on their website. </p><p><a href="/parkssite/Documents/PKS_NRD/054454.pdf">View a map of the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Sites.</a></p><p><a href="/parkssite/Documents/PKS_NRD/d_032037.pdf">Plan your trip with a detailed map</a>.</p><p>The goal of the <a href="/parks/trails/locations/rio-salado-habitat-restoration-area">Phoenix Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Project</a> is to restore the native wetland and riparian (i.e. riverbank) habitats that were historically associated with the Salt River, which once flowed year-round through what is now Phoenix. The Hohokam, a farming people who lived in southern and central Arizona roughly from 1 A.D. to 1450, used the Salt River to turn the Salt and Gila river valleys into lush green farmland and thriving villages. Unsurpassed as farmers, the Hohokam established an extensive canal network branching out from the river to irrigate a variety of crops.</p><p>Even in relatively modern times, the Salt River continued to hold a central place in the consciousness of the Valley’s residents. As recently as the turn of the century, postcards from the era demonstrate the pride that the river generated.</p><p>Shortly after the turn of the century, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation placed dams along the Salt and Verde Rivers to create a series of lakes. While the dams achieved their goal of providing a reliable water supply for the valley, they left behind a dry, barren riverbed. </p><p>Today, the land along the riverbed has become lined with landfills, sand and gravel pits, and industrial areas interspersed with a few older neighborhoods. It is a part of this landscape that the Rio Salado project has transformed.</p><p>The Rio Salado Project is located in a five-mile section of the Salt River within the city of Phoenix. The site totals 595 acres and extends from just west of the Interstate-10 crossing on the eastern upstream end to 19th Avenue on the western or downstream end. The Project site includes the overbanks, typically within 50 feet of the top of bank, slopes of the banks to the terrace level, terrace level, and Low Flow Channel. Project construction crews removed hundreds of tons of buried trash from the project site, much of which was recycled tires </p><p>Visitors can now enjoy restored historical habitat in the project area in the Salt River from 24th Street westward to 19th Avenue. Trees are a big component of the restoration efforts. Most of the native trees planted in the project area were grown from seeds and cuttings gathered from within 1/2 mile of the river bottom. Cottonwood-Willow gallery forests were historically the most abundant riparian ecosystem among low-elevation rivers of the southwest. They once flourished around the banks of the Salt River. Large areas of cottonwood and willows will grace the terraces of the Phoenix Rio Salado project area. Another common Southwester riparian habitat, Mesquite bosques, also grace the terraces. The disappearance of once-abundant bosques this century has made the ecosystem the fourth rarest plant community of the 104 communities identified in the United States.<br></p>​The trailheads listed below provide access to the paved trails. We also recommend calling the Ranger Office at (602) 262-6863 or (602) 262-6713 (tty) with any questions or concerns before heading out to the area.  <br>All  trailhead parking areas are open from sunrise to sunset, or to 7 p.m.; whichever comes first seasonally:<br><ul><li><span style="font-size:13px;">2439 S. Central Ave. (Northeast corner)</span><br></li><li><span style="font-size:13px;">3212 S. 7th Ave. (Southwest corner)</span><br></li><li><span style="font-size:13px;">2801 S. 7th Ave. (Equestrian Staging)</span><br></li><li><span style="font-size:13px;">2875 S. 7th St. (Southeast corner)</span><br></li><li><span style="font-size:13px;">3203 S. 16th St. (Southeast corner)</span><br></li></ul>While visiting Rio Salado, please remember that the area is a habitat restoration project; remain on designated trails, do not enter the ponds or river channel, remove rocks or flowers, disturb wildlife, throw rocks into ponds, and keep dogs on leashes on the hard surface (asphalt trails).<br> <br>Please note that leashed dogs are allowed on the hard surface (asphalt) trails only. The primary goal of the project is to re-establish sensitive riparian habitat that disappeared from the Valley decades ago. Please do your part to allow the habitat to thrive and grow by keeping your dog on a leash and removing and properly disposing of all pet waste.</div>https://www.phoenix.gov/waterservicessite/Lists/WAMCalendar/Attachments/59/Kids on Bridge.jpeg4/29/2021 7:00:00 AM