Lake Pleasant Regional Park
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Lake Pleasant Regional Park is a large outdoors recreation area straddling the Maricopa and Yavapai county border northwest of Phoenix, Arizona. The park is located within the municipal boundaries of Peoria, Arizona, and serves as a major recreation hub for the northwest Phoenix metropolitan area.
|Location||Peoria, Morristown, Maricopa and Yavapai counties, Arizona, US|
|Primary inflows||Agua Fria River|
|Basin countries||United States|
|Surface area||7500 acres (30 km²/11.7 mi²)|
|Average depth||70 ft (21 m)|
|Max. depth||170 ft (52 m)|
|Surface elevation||1,700 ft (520 m)|
The cornerstone of the park is the 10,000 acre (40 km² or 15.6 mi²), Lake Pleasant, one of the important artificial reservoirs surrounding the Phoenix metropolitan area. Created by the Carl Pleasant Dam, which was finished in 1927, and upon completion, was the largest multi-arch dam in the world. The lake originally had a surface area of 3,700 acres (15 km² or 5.8 mi²) and served as a private irrigation project. At 76 feet (23 m) high and 2,160 feet (658 m) long, the original Carl Pleasant Dam was, at its completion, the largest agricultural dam project in the world. The lake was filled by the Agua Fria River, capturing a large watershed throughout Yavapai County.
Construction of the Central Arizona Project Aqueduct, which began in 1973, soon diverted water from the Colorado River to the lake, converting the lake from an agricultural project into a storage reservoir for the project. Completed in 1994, the New Waddell Dam tripled the surface area of the lake, submerging the old dam beneath its waters. Shortly after the completion of the dam, the area experienced a prolonged drought, and while the lake grew considerably it would not reach full capacity until early 2005. Although still fed by the Agua Fria River, the CAP aqueduct is the primary source of water for the reservoir.
Lake Pleasant is used as a major water sports recreation center for the Phoenix metro area, as well as serving as an important storage reservoir for the rapidly growing region. A number of boat docks and beach access make the lake a popular destination for scuba diving, water skiing, jet skiing, sailing, windsurfing and other water sports.
The lake has been plagued by a number of deaths over the years, and Arizona authorities have from time to time called for caution when at Lake Pleasant because of a number of reasons, including rising waters and carbon monoxide in the area.
Lake Pleasant Fish Species
- Threadfin Shad
- Redear Sunfish
- Green Sunfish
- Black Crappie
- White Crappie
- Largemouth Bass
- Smallmouth Bass
- White Bass
- Striped Bass
- Channel Catfish
- Flathead Catfish
- Common Carp
Potential Fish Species
- Gizzard Shad
- Yellow Perch
- Northern Pike
- Rainbow Trout
- Blue Catfish
Potential Aquarium Released Species
- Peacock Bass
- Rocket Gar
- Ripsaw Catfish
- Bala Shark
- Colombian Shark
- Iridescent Shark
- Rainbow Shark
- Red Tail Shark
- Silver Apollo Shark
The park covers a total of over 23,000 acres (93 km²) of mountainous desert landscape, including the lake, and boasts a number of other recreational activities, such as mountain biking, camping, and hiking. The park also has an educational visitors' center that provides information regarding the history of the lake, the construction of the Waddell Dam and the surrounding areas.
The presence of the lake has also attracted other recreational activities in the area, such as a dirt racetrack and a large glider school/airport.
The rapidly growing city of Peoria has annexed the park and surrounding lands with an eye on future development, though 2007-2008 economic downturn has brought a temporary halt to its plans. Economy aside, the increasing popularity of the area is evidenced by rapidly growing subdivisions to the south, such as Vistancia, and skyrocketing real estate values, the city has zoned much of the land in the immediate vicinity for future use of both high-end waterfront residential neighborhoods and commercial opportunities off of Lake Pleasant Parkway and the Carefree Highway. Several plans also call for potentially expanding the existing airstrip to be expanded into a regional airport.
Lake Pleasant Paddle Fest is a full day event featuring different paddle craft and fun activities.
Bill Luke Bass Days is a day and night time festival taking place at Lake Pleasant Marina featuring carnival rides, cornhole tournament, wildlife exhibits, vendors, food and live music.
The area is served by Pleasant Valley Airport, located 3 miles away. Plans to start commercial service to the airport, including from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, have been unsuccessful.
Several roads connect the area to Phoenix's main freeway systems.
The following pictures are of some of the scenery at Lake Pleasant Regional Park and the ruins of a thousand year old Hohokam Puebloans village.
Hiking trail leading to the Indian Mesa (in the background). The hiking trail is located on a portion of a canal which the Hohokam built in 700 AD. The canal is now filled with soil.
A posthole dug by the Hohokams inside their house. The Hohokams placed heavy mesquite or pine posts in them to support a roof.
- "Lake Pleasant Carbon Monoxide and Watercraft" (PDF). Arizona Department of Health Services, Office of Environmental Health. Retrieved November 13, 2016. Cite journal requires
- "Lake Pleasant Regional Park PADDLE FEST 2016". Retrieved November 13, 2016.
- Whalen, Ashley. "Bill Luke Bass Days at Lake Pleasant". AZCentral/Arizona Republic. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
- "Pleasant Valley Airport & RV Park". Retrieved November 13, 2016.
- "Ruins Seldom Seen, Indian Mesa". Retrieved November 13, 2016.
- Giordano, Gerard. Lake Pleasant (Images of America). Arcadia Publishing. p. 13. ISBN 978-0738571768.