6/17/2014 1:45:00 PM Clarkdale's Verde River Ambassadors program launches this week
The first seven Verde River Ambassadors and Sgt. Bill Reylea at the Lower TAPCO RAP (from left): Lindsey Plas, Andrea Meyer, Marcia Messier, Klint McKean, Elayne Zimmer, Jim Brunot and Cindy Masters.
CLARKDALE -- When the Town of Clarkdale founded the Verde River @ Clarkdale project three years ago, they did so believing that improving access and recreation opportunities on the river would give the community an opportunity to personally connect with the river. Those personal connections would help strengthen people's understanding and desire for stewardship of this precious resource.
With the opening of the Lower TAPCO River Access Point (RAP) on June 18, Clarkdale has launched the Verde River Ambassadors Program. The Ambassadors, who are part-time employees hired with revenues from commercial uses at the RAPs, will help to ensure safety, preservation, stewardship and proper use of the recreation areas. Key to their role is promoting positive relationships and experiences with the public, and helping support safe outdoor recreational sites on the river.
The Lower TAPCO RAP is scheduled to open to the public at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, June 18. A ribbon cutting/dedication will be held at the site 10-11 a.m. that day.
According to Town Manager Gayle Mabery, "We consider the Verde River and its ecosystem as a community treasure that offers us the opportunity to recreate in one of the most beautiful natural areas of the State of Arizona. We take the stewardship of these sites seriously, and are pleased to have our first cadre of Verde River Ambassadors on board to help support that vision."
The Ambassadors program is being supervised by Clarkdale Police Sgt. Bill Reylea. During an orientation program this week, Reylea emphasized the need for flexibility and communication. "We will surely learn things as we move forward with park operations. Our Ambassadors will be our first-line of communication with the customers at these facilities, and those interactions and communications will be key to our ability to adapt as we strive to balance public recreation access with protection of the natural environment."
As part of their orientation, the Verde River Ambassadors toured the Tuzigoot RAP and the Lower TAPCO RAP.