The Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch was created as an innovative and unique way to combine water resource management with wildlife habitat preservation, education, and outdoor recreation. It is an oasis in the Sonoran Desert featuring seven aquifer recharge basins – each kept at different water levels to create diverse habitats and attract a variety of wildlife. Designated as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society, approximately 298 species of birds have been identified at the preserve, and many insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals have found a home here as well.
Over 4.5 miles of trails weave through the park welcoming hikers, runners, bikers, horseback riders, wildlife watchers, and casual strollers. Dogs are welcome on the trails. Interpretive education panels on wildlife and vegetation are positioned along the trails and there are viewing blinds along the edge of several ponds to enhance your wildlife viewing experience.
The preserve also boasts an urban fishing lake, covered picnic areas, dinosaur dig site, campsites, and the only valley astronomy observatory open to the public every Friday and Saturday evening from dusk until 9:30 p.m., subject to weather conditions.
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