Cardenas Camp—Restoration Project

Left: volunteers in the process of digging a hole for planting, right: volunteer posing with a planted and caged Goodding's willow
Volunteers working at Cardenas camp.
Southwestern willow flycatcher on a branch against green backdrop
Southwestern Willow Flycatcher


The Project

The restoration project at Cardenas Camp is a collaborative effort between the Vegetation Program at Grand Canyon National Park and The Arboretum at Flagstaff. This project is building off of previous riparian restoration work completed at Granite Camp and Monument Creek. The goal of this particular project is to create habitat for the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, an endangered bird species. The first phase of this project involved removing tamarisk from a little less than one acre and replanting that area with native trees and shrubs including coyote willow (9 clusters), cottonwoods (23 pole cuttings) and Goodding’s willow (18 tall pot trees). The work was completed by staff and volunteers in January 2018 and monitoring and maintenance efforts will continue throughout the next few years.

The success of this project and similar ones in the future is dependent on the partnerships with the river and backpacking communities and the amazing stewardship those individuals have for the canyon.
Left: volunteers and staff in the process of filling in a hole for a planted Goodding's willow, middle: volunteer posing with a planted and caged Goodding willow, right: planted and caged Goodding's willow
Process of planting a Goodding's willow.

About the Site

The restoration site begins about 200 feet downstream from the main camp at Cardenas. There is a trail on the down river end of the main camp, right next to the river. Walking down this trail leads backpackers and river runners to an open area where tamarisk was removed, and this is where you will start to see the restoration site with its many young plantings of willows and cottonwoods.
Satellite map marking distribution of tree species: yellow - cottonwood, pink - mixed plantings of cottonwood and coyote willow, green - coyote willow, blue - gooddings willow
The map above shows the restoration site and all of the current plantings. All plants have been caged to protect them from beaver herbivory. The plants at this site will require supplemental watering throughout the next few years in order to ensure they are successful and thrive in this new site; there are buckets stored at the restoration site for watering. This project depends on the help of volunteers on backpacking and river trips to water these new plants.

How Can You Help

Help us water! It will likely take a group of five about 1-2 hours to water the whole site. Please e-mail us if you are interested in watering. If you send photos of your group watering the plants at Cardenas, you may even see yourselves featured on this page!

Thank you for being a steward of the canyon and the plants and animals within it!

For more information and for volunteer opportunities, contact Dan Boughter, Restoration Biologist, at 928-638-7482 or e-mail us.

Restoration crew posing in front of Colorado river overlook.
Crew of staff and volunteers from January 2018 planting of Cardenas Camp Restoration Project

Last updated: March 6, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023


(928) 638-7888

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