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The Trust for Public Land and Coconino County announced the purchase of 80 acres at Rogers Lake near Flagstaff today.
The existing Rogers Lake Natural Area, a wetland area surrounded by ponderosa pine and gambel oak forest, was purchased by the County in 2010.
Since that original acquisition, County Parks & Recreation has established recreational amenities at Rogers Lake that include a 6-mile non-motorized trail system (hiking, mountain biking and equestrian), two trailheads, and a watchable wildlife viewing platform created in partnership with Arizona Game and Fish.
“Rogers Lake is a crown jewel of the County’s Parks & Recreation system and offers an amazing place for people to hike and bike in a beautiful landscape just outside of Flagstaff,” said Michael Patrick, Senior Project Manager for The Trust for Public Land. “The Trust for Public Land is excited to partner with the County, U.S. Navy and U.S. Forest Service Community Forest Program to protect this gateway property to the Rogers Lake County Natural Area.”
The acquired property serves as a gateway across which the public road passes as it enters the County Natural Area, and its protection is therefore vital to the visitor’s experience at Rogers Lake. The property will be managed by County Parks and Recreation, and will provide additional opportunities for hiking and an outdoor environmental education classroom. The property includes both ponderosa forest and a wetland area and protects habitat for wildlife, including Mexican spotted owl, migratory waterfowl and an important migration corridor for elk.
Beverly Miller, whose family has owned the land since 1950, sold the land to The Trust for Public Land, which then sold the land to Coconino County. Protection of the property to prevent residential development also benefits the missions of two nearby military installations, the U.S. Naval Observatory, Flagstaff and the Army National Guard’s Camp Navajo.
“This purchase coming to fruition is due to the work and collaboration of so many in our community,” said Coconino County District 3 Supervisor Matt Ryan. “I want to especially thank the Millers, the U.S. Navy, and the Trust for Public Land for their partnership. Because of this effort, this land will meet the recommendations of the Joint Land Use Study and previous area plans. It will also be protected for generations to come for activities like hiking, environmental education, biking and other outdoor opportunities.”
The Navy is providing a portion of the funding for this project through the purchase of a restrictive use easement on the acquired property through the Readiness and Encroachment Protection Integration (REPI) program. Funds derived from the National Guard’s purchase of a conservation easement on the County’s nearby Frontiere property will support this 80-acre acquisition. The Frontiere conservation easement also benefits the long-term protection of Rogers Lake. The United States Forest Service also plans to provide funding to the County to assist with the protection of this property. This funding is from an award through the Community Forest Program, and will be the first such community forest project in Arizona.