Open Space Program


View of the San Francisco Peaks from Observatory Mesa Natural Area Photo Copyright: Tom Bean PhotogrThe City of Flagstaff Open Space Program is responsible for managing over 3,000 acres of legally-designated open space properties, including Picture Canyon Natural and Cultural Preserve, Observatory Mesa Natural Area, McMillan Mesa, and the Schultz Creek Trailhead.

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.

Bond Initiatives

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.

On June 6, 2017, the Flagstaff City Council adopted a Management Plan for Legally-Designated Open Space (PDF) Properties, which outlines policies and projects associated with managing the natural and cultural resources on these properties while providing educational and recreational opportunities for Flagstaff visitors.

Every year, in addition to directing efforts to meet the Program's mission, Flagstaff Open Space works to achieve the goals outlined in the Legally Designated Open Space Management Plan and the Sustainability Section's Strategic Plan.

Year in Review Reports

Hiker at Picture Canyon Natural and Cultural Preserve. Photo Credit: Tamara Hastie PhotographyThe following reports provide insight on the progress the Program has accomplished and is a testament to the Flagstaff community's engagement and interest in working together to preserve and protect our natural areas. 

Learn more about what the Open Space Program has been working n with our Year in Review reports as follows:

Helpful Resources

To learn more about what the Open Space Program and our partners have been up to, as well as exciting projects and community events, sign up for our monthly e-newsletter.

Are you interested in using open space properties for a research project or an ongoing educational program? Submit a complete Research and Education Permit (PDF) to us via email for review!

If you have questions about the City's Open Space Program, please email Robert Wallace, the City's Open Spaces Specialist or call at 928-213-2154.

Upcoming Events

Flagstaff Festival of Science is September 19 through 27, 2020, and although COVID will not allow us to do in-person guided hikes, we've created a self-guided map of Picture Canyon, using any QR Code reader app on your smart phone! Picture Canyon Self-Guided Tour For more Festival of Science activities.

Email Robert Wallace, the City's Open Space Specialist, if you are interested in organizing a volunteer event for your group.
Stay up to date with events and programs by following our Facebook page!