Hart Prairie Road Work Planned to Improve Safety and Benefit Habitat

Release Date: Jun 24, 2005  

Contact(s): Coconino Supervisor's Office - 928-527-3600


Flagstaff, AZ – Road crews will soon begin work to improve drainage and repair road damage on a section of the scenic Forest Road 151 (Hart Prairie road) near Fern Mountain northwest of Flagstaff. They will also repair a short section of Forest Service road providing access to The Nature Conservancy in Arizona’s Hart Prairie Preserve.

Construction work is scheduled to occur throughout the month of July. Although the Hart Prairie road will not be closed, motorists may encounter delays up to 20 minutes during various construction phases. The work will involve replacing culverts, grading, and resurfacing the roads.

In addition to repairing road damage and improving road safety, the project will also help restore runoff in Hart Prairie’s Bebb willow habitat. The Hart Prairie population of Bebb willow—a rare, wet meadow vegetation—is the largest community of this plant surveyed in the United States. The Hart Prairie Bebb willow community has ten times more trees than any other surveyed population in the country. “Restoring the natural hydrologic flows to these willows will be a real shot in the arm for them,” said John Nelson, an official with the Forest Service’s Peaks and Mormon Lake Ranger Districts.

The project is being conducted as a partnership between the Peaks Ranger District, The Nature Conservancy in Arizona and other collaborating organizations. It is being partially funded by a grant from the Forest Service’s Southwestern Regional Office in Albuquerque.

“The Nature Conservancy welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with the Peaks Ranger District to restore natural processes to the benefit of the willows,” said Rebecca Garrett, Northern Arizona Program Coordinator for the Conservancy. “The Bebb willow is a good indicator of the overall health of the riparian community in this unique wet area on the San Francisco Peaks.”

For more information, please contact the Peaks Ranger District at (928) 526-0866, or Rebecca Garrett, Northern Arizona Program Coordinator for The Nature Conservancy in Arizona at (928) 774-8892.