Walk on the wild side
Walking paths take visitors back to nature
If all you want is some exercise, you can take a walk in the neighborhood or do a few laps around the track at any of a number of public parks in the Yuma area.
But maybe you have in tow a spouse, child or other family members whose idea of recreation is something other than walking.
Then you may want to go to the West Wetlands Park on the banks of the Colorado River, where visitors not only can walk, but go fishing, pursue other water sports, picnic, play a round of disk golf, climb playground equipment or take in nature.
It would be little exaggeration to say the West Wetlands Park, located at 2200 Water St., started out as a diamond in the rough.
The city turned what was once an illegal dump site into the West Wetlands Park, a 110-acre multi-use recreational area that includes a stocked fishing pond, picnic areas and the Stewart Vincent Wolfe Memorial Playground.
At West Wetlands, walkers stay on a level course as they follow a track that alternates between concrete and asphalt stretches as it circles the pond and winds throughout the park.
“There are a lot of people who just walk around the pond,” said Becky Chavez, the city's parks and recreation director. “Many people will start at one end of the park and end up walking around the pond.”
Still other groups of visitors split up, she said, and “some in a group will end up fishing while others will walk around the pond.”
Depending on the time of year, the pond is stocked with catfish, bass and trout. Arizona fishing regulations apply at the pond, so anglers should check with the Arizona Game and Fish Department about bag limits, license requirements and other rules.
“Disk golf is available,” Chavez added. “There are a lot of people who go down there to play disk golf.”
The park also has ramadas and tables for picnics, a launch giving boaters access to the river, and the Stewart Vincent Wolfe Memorial Playground for children.
“We like children to be supervised” at playground by parents or guardians, Chavez said.
Given its amenities, the West Wetlands Park is a favorite among area residents. Indeed, it's been chosen annually as the area's best park in the Yuma Sun's Yuma's Best reader poll.
Apart from the track inside the West Wetlands, walkers can travel an asphalt path that extends east and west along the top of the river levee on the south side of the park.