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Open Spaces Program
To many Flagstaff area residents, open space is the defining feature of Flagstaff’s character and attraction. Open space defines the region’s quality of life, protects the region’s ecological health, supports existing and future economic development, and preserves historic and cultural resources.

In 2004, Flagstaff voters approved two bond initiatives to fund open space acquisition efforts. These funds were leveraged with Arizona State Parks Growing Smarter grant funds to purchase nearly 2,700 acres of protected open space at Picture Canyon Natural and Cultural Preserve and Observatory Mesa Natural Area. These areas are managed to provide recreational and educational opportunities.

To learn more about what the City, Coconino County, and other organizations are doing for open space in our community, check out our annual newsletter.

If you have questions about Observatory Mesa Natural Area, Picture 
Canyon Natural and Cultural Preserve, or the City's Open Space Program in general, please contact Betsy Emery, the City's Open Spaces Specialist

Upcoming Events:
The Open Space Program does not have any upcoming events.
Flagstaff Open SpacesView of the San Francisco Peaks from Observatory Mesa Natural Area. 
Photo copyright: Tom Bean

Picture Canyon 

With funding from the 2004 voter-approved open space bond and a 2012 Growing Smarter grant, the City of Flagstaff successfully acquired 478 acres at Picture Canyon for preservation. For more information, visit www.flagstaff.az.gov/picturecanyon

Observatory Mesa
In 2004, Flagstaff voters approved a $5.5 million bond to acquire State Trust lands on Observatory Mesa as open space. The City was able to utilize Arizona State Parks Growing Smarter Grant funds in conjunction with the voter-approved bond to acquire 2,250 acres of land on Observatory Mesa in 2013. As critical wildlife habitat, a popular recreation corridor, and protection from light pollution for our dark skies, Observatory Mesa is a natural and cultural amenity for northern Arizona. The acquisition of Observatory Mesa provides a natural place for members of the Flagstaff community to learn about ecology, geology, and astronomy, while participating in outdoor recreation. To view a large map of Observatory Mesa Natural Area, please click here. If you are interested in learning more about the conservation attributes of Observatory Mesa, please read the Observatory Mesa facts handout.