Picture Canyon gets makeover

Flagstaff, AZ – The city of Flagstaff and the state lands department are giving Picture Canyon a much-needed makeover. Arizona Public Radio's Laurel Morales reports.

Picture Canyon, named for its petroglyphs, hasn't been so picturesque in recent years. The east Flagstaff state land has been treated like a junkyard complete with several wrecked cars that have been pushed over the edge. Several volunteers have cleaned up the trash and hauled the cars out but they need help.

So the city and state land department are stepping in with a 330-thousand dollar grant from the Arizona Water Protection Fund. Malcolm Alter is Flagstaff's Stormwater Manager.

ALTER: It was essentially a neglected area either folks didn't know about it or if you knew about it really wasn't a place to go because of the trash. It's a real example of how the community has come together to rescue and restore a true treasure of the community that some folks never knew was there.

Over the next several months crews will be filling and reshaping the dredged channel and reconnecting the stream; pulling noxious weeds and replacing them with native riparian and wetland plants. The canyon is just below the Wildcat Hills Wastewater Treatment Plant. The effluent has recently been upgraded, which is better for wildlife in the area not to mention the smell.

Soon Flagstaff rock art enthusiasts won't have to go far to enjoy the dozens of Sinagua petroglyphs and archeological sites of Picture Canyon. The project should be completed next summer. And Alter says there is a county-led effort to purchase the property from the state to permanently preserve the land.

For Arizona Public Radio I'm Laurel Morales in Flagstaff.