By Toni Gibbons
The Little Colorado Levee System, which was engineered, installed and certified by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, plays an important roll in protecting the city from floodwaters, but recently in an effort to curb vandalism of the fences and earthen banks by unauthorized ATV use, Mayor Bobby Tyler and city officials feel it is time to become more proactive and increase the promotion of recreational use on top of the levee.
During a tour of the levee Tim Kelley, Facility Manager/Levee Superintendent for the City of Holbrook, pointed out the variety of views and wildlife that can be seen from the top, which include roadrunners, squirrels and sometimes large game.
Across the railroad tracks, surrounded by fences and on top of the Little Colorado Levee System, is nearly four miles of roadway that the City of Holbrook is encouraging folks to use for walking, running and biking. Dogs on leashes are even welcome. However, ATVs and motorized vehicles are not allowed, unless granted authority by the city.
The only public entrance allowed is at the corner of Blake Avenue and Alvarado Drive, just south of the Bucket of Blood Street. A brand-new “Recreational Use Entrance” sign now clearly marks the walk-in gate.
Going to the top of the levee on the east side, the length of the road is 1.5 miles.
To access the west side, folks need to exercise a little more caution as they will have to cross the tracks of the Apache Railway before reaching the top of the levee. The length of the west side road is 2.1 miles.
While there are access roadways at the base of the levee, Kelley said those are not meant for walking on and encourages the public to stay on the top path.
Kelley also noted that even though the city maintains and operates the levee, it is under the observation of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which means violators can be charged on a federal level for trespassing and vandalism. Citizens are encouraged to report any improper activity to City Hall at (928) 524-6225.
As part of the annual maintenance and weed abatement, there will be burning along the south side of the levee for the next two to three weeks.