Open Space Program


The 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.

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 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.

The 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.

FY 2019 Year in Review. Learn more about what Open Space Staff worked on during the course of the 2019 Fiscal Year (August 1, 2018 - July 31, 2019)

FY 2018 Year in Review.
  Learn about the work Open Space completed with our partners during the 2018 Fiscal Year (July 31, 2017 - July 31, 2018).

2016 Annual Year in Review. Check out the work completed during the 2016 calendar year (January 1, 2016 - December 31, 2016).

2015 Annual Year in Review. If you're interested in past program focal areas read the 2015 calendar year review (January 1, 2015 - December 31, 2015).

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  to us at for review!

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

Upcoming Events:
The Open Space Program is not hosting any upcoming events.

Contact 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

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View of the San Francisco Peaks from Observatory Mesa Natural Area.

Photo copyright: Tom Bean Photography
Tamara Hastie 681_LosRes
Hiker at Picture Canyon Natural and Cultural Preserve.

Photo Credit: Tamara Hastie Photography