The City of Flagstaff today ended the uncertainty over the future of Picture Canyon. The city bought the 478 acres in order to protect it from development.
In a ceremonial auction on the steps of the Coconino County Courthouse, the auctioneer put the property up for bids.
“Keeping in mind that the minimum acceptable bid is $4,778,000, do I have a bid in that amount?”
“$4,778,000,” responded Flagstaff City Manager Kevin Burke.
His bid was also the only one, so the city got the land.
Picture Canyon is located northeast of the city, not too far from the mall.
The nearly 478 acres are home to a variety of native plants.
It also contains one of the most important collections of petroglyphs, hundreds of them, from the Northern Sinaqua people a thousand years ago.
In the 1970s, the nearby sewage treatment plant used the canyon for drainage, and locals used it as a dump.
But volunteer clean-up efforts brought the canyon back.
The city rounded up the 4.78 million dollars through a combination of state grants and a local bond passed in 2004 to preserve open space.
The City plans a public celebration of its latest acquisition next spring.