Quechan Sunrise Park
Sunrise Park serves as the staging area for the Yuma East Wetlands. The Park is located on the north side of the Colorado River and adjacent to the historic Ocean-to-Ocean Bridge on Quechan Indian Tribal Land. Prior to the Park creation, this land was overrun with invasive tamarisk and phragmites, and in many areas, no vegetation grew because of high saline clay soils. A dirt road followed the hillside and was littered with garbage from transients and recreational users accessing the River. In order to transform this landscape and create a gateway to the Yuma East Wetlands restoration project, Fred Phillips Consulting (FPC), with the consent of the Quechan Indian Tribe, wrote a funding proposal for the Arizona State Parks Local, Regional and State Parks Heritage Fund grant program to create a sustainable interpretive and recreational park. The first proposal submitted in 2006 was not funded, but was highly recommended for the next year’s funding cycle. After revising the scope of work and budget for the 2007 grant cycle, the proposal was the number one priority in 2007 and the project was funded over $600,000 to create the Park.
FPC completed the design for the Sunrise Park, which integrated an ecological and sustainable theme in the interpretive and recreational infrastructure. The lighting and composting toilets are powered by photovoltaic panels, local materials were used to create where possible, native xeriscaping was used in the majority of planted areas, local native plant stock was planted along slopes, and an area dedicated to traditional Quechan gardens was established for elders to plant traditional crops. Recreational infrastructure includes a fishing/diving platform in the adjacent pond and interpretive trails that continue into the adjacent restored riparian habitat. The shade structures and picnic areas provide a simple, but elegant and functional design to add to the aesthetic appeal of the Park. A small amphitheater was created to host Quechan Tribal and public events. Once the design was complete, Fred Phillips Consulting conducted observation.