Sonoran Audubon Society

SAS Field Trip – Page Springs & Bubbling Ponds

May 18, 2019 @ 6:30 am
Page Springs
Bob McCormick

Located among the beautiful scenery of lower Oak Creek, Bubbling Ponds Preserve offers outstanding wildlife viewing and recreational opportunities. The Preserve is part of the Page Springs Fish Hatchery, an Arizona Game & Fish Department facility. Northern Arizona Audubon has partnered with the Arizona Game & Fish Department to provide a wonderful wildlife sanctuary designed for easy public access.

The 1.8-mile Black Hawk nature trail, which has signs describing riparian habitat and wildlife, meanders through the preserve and along Oak Creek. The Preserve which contains a large ramada, two viewing decks, an outdoor educational area and convenient seating areas along the trail, is a great place to see wildlife and is maintained by NAAS volunteers. Visitation to the area is from dawn to dusk seven days a week.

This map shows the parking area labeled IBA entry at the lower left of the map.

Bubbling Ponds Preserve is a wonderful example of a public – private partnership. The Arizona Game & Fish Department provided the land and its very helpful staff who supported the project from its inception. The $45,000 cost of this project was funded entirely by Northern Arizona Audubon thanks to donations from its members. Members of Audubon also handled the design, project management and assisted in constructing many of the improvements.

We will be at Bubbling springs for about three hours and will then move across Oak Creek to Paige Springs for an additional hour or two.

Page Springs Fish Hatchery resides on Commission-owned land and is managed by the Department’s Hatchery Program since 1938. Page Springs Hatchery was named after the Page family, the previous owners of the property who had been raising trout as far back as the early 1930s. The hatchery is comprised of two separate parcels Page Springs Hatchery and Bubbling Ponds Hatchery totaling approximately 190 acres. There are two springs on the hatchery that include the “Cave Spring” (also known as the Page Spring Tunnel) and the “Pond Spring Area.”

Page Springs Hatchery is the largest state run hatchery. It produces on average 216,000 lbs. of trout which equals approximately 57% of the stock trout in Arizona, and makes a $185.3 million positive impact to the overall state economy.

Page Springs is located on beautiful Oak Creek approximately 10 miles south of Sedona and 10 miles north of Cottonwood off Highway 89A on the Page Springs Road. The best access is from Interstate 17. Take the McGuireville exit (exit 293), turn west for approximately 10 miles to Cornville; turn north on Page Springs Road for five miles to hatchery entrance.

Things to Know/Bring:
This trip will go from 8:00am to around noon. The Bubbling Springs parking area only holds about 8 cars. Additional parking is available at the winery closer to the fish hatchery. Bring a lunch if you wish and lots of water. The lunch area will be at the Paige Springs Fish hatchery. Those interested in really good burgers may want to stop at G’s Burgers in Cornville, inexpensive and awesome!
Please bring binoculars and cameras. Bathrooms are available at the fish hatchery. We will be doing moderate hiking, so plan on bringing sturdy hiking boots. A wide-brimmed hat and sun block are also highly recommended.

Carpooling, Meeting Time/Location:
We will leave the Park and Ride Lot, SW corner of I-17 and Bell Rd. at 6:30am

Difficulty: 2 – hiking on trails and we will cover about three miles.