1/23/2013 7:48:00 AM Detailed guides now available for 100-miles of Verde
Photo by Susun McCulla
Field work, which included numerous GPS waypoints, river access points and points of interest, was done by long-time river runner and advocate John Parsons and his assistant, Josh Wheeler
The third and final segment of the Verde River, the stretch spanning the State Route 89A bridge in Cottonwood to Beasley Flat, just south of Camp Verde, now has a boater’s guide. There are now three guides available detailing the entire 100 miles from Tuzigoot Bridge in Clarkdale to Sheep Bridge just upstream of Horseshoe Reservoir.
VERDE VALLEY - The best way to get to know the Verde River is to drift it in a boat.
There is no better introduction than to spend a quiet afternoon sliding through its gentle riffles and lazily paddling through one of its many deep pools.
But for those who don't have the benefit of a personal guide to lead them the first time out, the notion of plunging headlong down the river can be intimidating.
That is why some 20 years ago someone got the idea of making a boater's guide to the river.
A die-hard canoeist named Jim Slingluff made the first attempt. The guy responsible for teaching many boaters that the Verde could be run year-round, Slingluff produced the "Verde River Recreation Guide."
In 1996, author Bob Williams wrote a second guide, "A Floater's Guide to the Verde River."
In both instances, what they lacked in detail they made up for in enthusiasm.
Shortly after Williams rolled his book out, Arizona State Parks decided to make a detailed guide for the original Verde River Greenway, the six-mile long section from the Tuzigoot Bridge in Clarkdale to Bridgeport/SR89A Bridge in Cottonwood.
A few years later, after observing an increasing number or wrecked canoes and kayaks along the lower Verde's Wild and Scenic section, the Forest Service released a second detailed, mile-by-mile guide, this one covering the section from Beasley Flat to the Sheep Bridge just upstream of Horseshoe Reservoir.
But those seeking a first-time trip down the river, this 60-mile section would not be the one to begin with unless you are an experienced boater.
The gentlest, most playful and definitely the best one on which to get an introduction to what the Verde has to offer is the section that runs between those two sections, from Bridgeport to Beasley.
This week, after nearly two years of work, a detailed boaters guide is at last available for the 31 miles of river spanning that stretch.
The 26-page guide is a project of Verde Valley Land Preservation (VVLP), with fieldwork done by long-time river runner and Verde advocate John Parson and his assistant Josh Wheeler. Chip Norton, president of the Verde River Greenway, wrote the guide with assistance from VVLP's Bob Rothrock.
It is composed of nine maps with accompanying narrative and GPS waypoints. It also gives directions to all the river access points along the stretch, places boaters can launch or exit the river
"It turned out to be a learning experience for us," Rothrock said. "Hopefully it will allow people to pick a nice stretch that suits their ability so they can enjoy instead of blundering into something they didn't want to be involved in."
Parsons and others have noted that the river guides are useful even for those who are not boating.
"They serve as the best map we have for anyone wanting to just go hang out on the river bank and enjoy it. They will give you an idea where to go and what to look for," Parsons said.
Hard copies will soon be available, and after it has received a final copy editing it will be posted along with the two previous guides on the Friends of the Verde River website, www.verderivergreenway.org, as well as Verde Valley Land Preservation's, www.verdevalleylpi.org.