Colorado River State Historic Park Opens In Yuma, Arizona.



News Blip: Colorado River State Historic Park Opens In Yuma

A Transformation To An Arizona Historic Park Aims To Inform People Of The Importance That One City's Agriculture Has For The Entire Nation

Colorado River Along Marble Canyon In Arizona [Photo Credit: Denny Armstrong-CC]                  

Editor's Note: This news item was retrieved via Visit Yuma.

YUMA, ARIZ. — One of Yuma’s two state historic parks is undergoing a significant transformation. In December 2016, the City of Yuma and Arizona State Parks signed an agreement that maintains locally-based community management for the next 15 years. Part of that agreement approved a name change from the Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park to the Colorado River State Historic Park.

While new signage is going up at the park with its new name, there is much more to this transformation. A new master plan of the park determined that the park should tell the story of the past, present and future of the Colorado River.

Existing exhibits do tell the story of the site as a key transshipment site from steamboats to forts in the Southwest from the 1860s to the 1880s. However, with the coming of the railroad in 1877, the site took on a new mission in the early 1900s as the Bureau of Reclamation and allied water districts built an impressive array of dams, canals and even an underground water tunnel to serve the Yuma Valley. This is the basis of Yuma’s multi-billion dollar winter fresh vegetable business, serving the entire nation from November to March.

"What needs to be told is the whole story of the Colorado River: the importance of Yuma agriculture for the entire nation; the unintended environmental stresses; the over allocation of river water; the increasing demand on water supplies to serve 40 million people in the entire Southwest. In essence, the uncertain future of the Colorado River and how we can all play a part in addressing this challenge," says Charles Flynn, Director of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, which manages the parks on behalf of the City of Yuma and the community.

A new exhibit on John Wesley Powell is being installed in the main entrance building. A new small theater has been created that will run films daily (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) from a variety of perspectives. An exhibit called “Moving Waters” is being refreshed and relocated into the Storehouse building.

"This is only the beginning of our efforts to share with the nation the dramatic story of the Colorado River. Our ultimate vision is to build a new building called the 'Center for the Future of the Colorado River,' in which people can better understand and appreciate the challenges ahead. We also hope to make Yuma the hub of an ongoing dialogue among all stakeholders who rely on the Colorado River," commented Flynn.

Arizona State Parks and Trails Director Sue Black commented: "This is an excellent partnership, and the renaming of the park and it’s new signage shows that we are moving forward while preserving our important history. Everyone should be proud."

"We would like to thank Arizona State Parks for their strong support for this project," says Flynn.

For more information, contact Charles Flynn of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area at 928-373-5192 or

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