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A Survey of the Recreational Resources of the Colorado River Basin







The Colorado River Basin


Plant and Animal Life

Prehistory of Man

Recreational Benefits of Reservoirs

Potential Reservoirs

The Grand Canyon

Canyon Lands of Southeastern Utah

Dinosaur National Monument

Conservation of Recreational Resources

Life Zone Map


A Survey of the Recreational Resources of the Colorado River Basin
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Chapter X:


The recommendation made for the Canyon Lands of southeastern Utah—that facilities for the accommodation of travelers and vacationists be concentrated in or near existing towns and villages so that the great areas of open country can remain free of scattered reminders of town life—has general application to the entire basin. Such action would help to maintain conditions which attracted the people now living in the basin and will attract people more and more from the sections of the United States where little undeveloped or uncultivated lands remain. It would also help to maintain and stimulate the economic life of existing communities.

Many of the towns are now focal points for recreational use of the surrounding country. Some of the outstanding one are:


1. Steamboat Springs, in the north central part of the State, is a gathering place for the many visitors to the medicinal springs and pools about the town and to the trout streams and lakes in the vicinity. Skiing is an important attraction in this region. A winter carnival is an annual event in this community.

2. Glenwood Springs, in northwest Colorado, has an immense hot mineral water outdoor swimming pool and an extensive ski course development. The scenic wooded mountains in the region abound in fishing streams and hunting areas.

3. Gunnison, in west central Colorado, provides accommodations for the numerous fishermen and hunters who visit the region. Some of the most celebrated fishing streams in the United States are in the locality. A Cattlemen's Day and a Sportsmen's Tournament are annual events in the community.

4. Durango is in the center of an important recreational region in southwestern Colorado. Beautiful, wooded mountains lie to the north and east where dude ranches, fishing streams, and hunting areas are plentiful. High-standard roads lead in each direction to scenic country.

Many other towns in Colorado have excellent possibilities for development as recreation centers.


1. Phoenix, at an elevation of 1,080 feet, with a population swelling to more than 150,000, is a desert metropolis located in a rich, irrigated agricultural area. Mountains appear on the horizon on all sides. The warm winter sunshine attracts thousands of visitors. The highlight of the tourist season is the Festival of the Sun held the last week in March.

Points of interest in the vicinity of Phoenix are Papago State Park, Phoenix South Mountain Park, the Pueblo Grande Ruins and laboratory, and the many fine hotels and guest ranches.

2. Tucson, at an elevation of 2,376 feet, has a population of about 40,000 It is a health and winter resort that has grown up around one of the oldest Spanish towns in the United States. Tucson residents engage in sports of all sorts and take part in music and art programs fostered by the State University located within the city limits. Riding over trails in the wide desert expanses is a favorite pastime.

In the vicinity of Tucson are many points of interest including Tucson Mountain County Park to the west, San Xavier Mission south of town, and the Santa Catalina Mountains and Saguaro National Monument to the east. The Yaqui Indian villages and ruins of Fort Lowell are other attractions close to town.

Tucson Mountain Park is especially attractive, its 44 square miles of desert mountain country containing a wealth of desert growth and an abundance of wildlife.

3. Prescott, elevation 5,347 feet, has a population of more than 6,000. It is in the mountainous section of west-central Arizona. Forests of pines south and west of town contribute to Prescott's growing popularity as a summer resort in the heart of the dude ranch country. For 3 days each summer Prescott is given over completely to a Frontier Days Rodeo. Fort Whipple and Yavapai Indian Reservation, Hassayampa Mountain Club in the Presscott National Forest, and Granite Dells are points of interest in the vicinity.

4. Flagstaff, at an elevation of 6,900 feet and with a population of 5,000, is surrounded by outstanding natural scenery. Southward are the gorges and canyons of Oak Creek. Mans Hill, a low mesa running north and south, forms a green background on the west, and on the northwest dark Mount Elden rises above the town. Beyond Mount Elden are the massive, lofty San Francisco Peaks.

Each year Flagstaff holds a pow-wow during the first week of July, which transforms the town into an Indian village. Several thousand Indians representing 20 tribal nations take part.

Nearby points of interest are Sunset Crater, Wupatki, and Walnut Canyon National Monuments, Lowell Observatory, and the Museum of Northern Arizona.

5. Winslow, on United States Highway 66, is a gateway to he Navajo and Hopi Indian Reservations to the north and to the Mogollon Plateau and the Tonto Basin to the south.

6. Williams is a southern gateway to Grand Canyon National Park.

7. Wickenburg is known as the Dude Ranch Capital.


Although there are few towns in Utah within the Colorado River Basin that at present can be considered as important recreation centers, there are several with great potentialities in this direction.

1. St. George, Hurricane, and Springdale in the Virgin River Valley are well situated to become major centers. The Virgin Valley and adjacent plateaus and mountains offer a wide variety of unusually colorful scenery, a range of life zones with the accompanying range of flora from lower Sonoran to Boreal within a space of a few miles, and a corresponding range of climatic conditions. The valley's particular charm is a combination of well-cared-for villages, green fields and orchards, and wild, brilliantly colored cliffs, deep canyons, black mesas, and forest-covered mountains.

2. Moab is in a somewhat similar setting and is destined to become an important center for persons visiting the unusual country around it.

3. Vernal, Torrey, Escalante, and Blanding are all gateway towns to major areas of recreational interest.

4. Kanab is now an important center for moving picture companies taking pictures of outdoor scenes.


Pinedale is the natural center for the recreational use of the west side of the Wind River Mountains.


Palm Springs has already developed as a famous desert winter recreation center that features swimming, bicycling, and sun-bathing. The major portion of the population of the Los Angeles region is within a 3-hour drive of Palm Springs. San Bernardino National Forest, Mount San Jacinto, and Anza Desert State Parks, and Joshua Tree National Monument are all within an hour's drive of Palm Springs.


1. Boulder City, the headquarters for the government agencies concerned with the operation and administration of Hoover Dam and the Lake Mead area, is also an important gathering place for visitors. Tourist accommodations are provided in the town and on the shore of Lake Mead.

2. Las Vegas is a popular tourist center with a number of resorts, hotels, and entertainment and gambling establishments.

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Last Modified: Mon, Sep 6 2004 10:00:00 pm PDT

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