Bird’s Eye View: SRP Watershed Helicopter Ride

What an amazing experience today as part of #MesaLeadership2016! We’ve been earning points for the classes, tours, shadowing and ride-alongs that we’ve been doing throughout the year and the 14 who had the most points got to go on a 2-hour tour today on an SRP helicopter to see where all the Valley’s water and electricity comes from. From SRP headquarters we flew north out of the Valley along the Verde River over Bartlett Dam/Lake and Horseshoe Dam/Lake. The we went over the top of Mount Ord, which is 7,128 feet. Then we went along the Salt River, including Theodore Roosevelt Dam/Lake, Horse Mesa Dam/Apache Lake, Mormon Flat Dam/Canyon Lake, Steward Dam/Saguaro Lake and Granite Reef Dam. The views were incredible and what a perspective to see it all from above! Thank you, SRP and Mesa Leadership, for this grand Arizona adventure!

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You know it’s going to be a good day when the sunrise is this beautiful!
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Our tour started in the SRP room at the Arizona Historical Society Museum at Papago Park.
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We learned a lot about the history of SRP and its goals in meeting the water and power needs of an ever-growing metropolitan Phoenix area.
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Our ride.

 

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Instructions from the pilot.
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This helicopter fits pilot + 14.
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Patti might fly us instead!

 

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Settling in.
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That’s Sharon in the front seat as co-pilot.
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We are ready for takeoff!
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Here we go!
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Scottsdale, looking north.
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Looking northeast.
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Agriculture on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
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Interesting sites in the East Valley.
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There is a Bald Eagle nesting in a tree just north of Loop 202.

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The helicopter’s shadow.
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Arizona Canal in the northeast Valley.
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Heading toward Fountain Hills.
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More of the canal and Fountain Hills.

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An interesting little cemetery near Fort McDowell.
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The community of Rio Verde, north of Fountain Hills.
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The Verde River.

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Bartlett Dam and Lake on the Verde River.

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Continuing north along the Verde River.

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Horseshoe Dam and Lake.

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Flying through Matazal Mountains, a mountain range about 30-45 miles northeast of Phoenix.
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This area was so interesting with the rock formations and outcroppings.

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We flew over Mt. Ord, which is 7,128 feet high.

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Beeline Highway.

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Michael viewing the landscape at 110 mph.

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Heading toward Punkin Center.

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Roosevelt Lake, the largest reservoir on the Salt River.

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The lake, about 80 miles northeast of Phoenix, was created in 1911 when the Theodore Roosevelt Dam was completed. At that time the dam was the largest masonry dam in the world and the lake was the largest man-made lake.
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The dam’s purpose was flood control, generation of electricity and harnessing the water for irrigation. In 1996 the dam was raised by 70 feet.
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Heading back toward Phoenix along the Salt River.
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The Apache Trail, which was constructed to get workers to the dam, now traveled by brave motorists.

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Boat dock at Apache Lake.

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In this cliff is an ancient Indian dwelling.
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Closer view of the cave. Not sure how they got up to that as it would be quite a climb!
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Farther back – this cave can be seen only from a helicopter.
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Horse Mesa Dam, which creates Apache Lake.

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SRP employees sometimes stay in the houses here on Horse Mesa.

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Canyon Lake.
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Weavers Needle in the Superstition Mountains in the background.

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Mormon Flat Dam, which creates Canyon Lake.

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Stewart Mountain Dam (at far left) creates Saguaro Lake.

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Saguaro Lake Guest Ranch near Bulldog Cliffs along the Salt River.

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Pebble Beach and Blue Point Bridge over the Salt River.
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Wild horses in the Salt River (center of photo).
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Hard to see but in the water in the center of the photo is another herd of wild horses.

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Confluence of the Salt and Verde rivers.

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CAP Canal and Salt River. Each can give and take water for the Valley.
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South Canal goes to Mesa.
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Aquifer recharge for the Arizona desert.

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Susan and Jerry.

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Homeless camp along the Salt River.
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A view of Mesa.
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Loop 202 in north Mesa.
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Bass Pro Shop on the 202 and Dobson.
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The new Wrigleyville West (go, Cubs!)
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Interchange at loops 101 and 202.
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ASU’s Karsten Golf Course.
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Tempe Town Lake on the Salt River (being drained for a new dam).
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Construction at ASU’s Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.
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Buildings on the south side of Tempe Town Lake with A Mountain behind them.
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Old and new Mill Avenue bridges.
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Tempe Center for the Arts on Tempe Town Lake. Dam construction on right.
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Airplane flying east out of Sky Harbor Airport.
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Where does this roundabout go?
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Heading back to SRP.
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Papago Golf Course.
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A safe landing and a wonderful flight!
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Group photo with our amazing pilot!
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A great day and a great experience!
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Morgan gets a photo in the pilot’s seat.
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Rob is flying next time!

 

 

 

 

 

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