Rio Salado River in Arizona

How This Dry River Became a Lake!

To The Lakeside Monthly Newsletter Page for subscribersIssue Number 09

November 2022

"Such a mortal too was Clooth-na-Bare, who went all over the world, seeking a lake deep enough..."

W.B. Yeats

Fantastic Recreational Space for Winter Months

Can you imagine a nice recreational area a bit "upstream" from this dry river bed in Phoenix? Less than 5 miles east of here, a big change has a lake with boating. Plus adjacent parks with tons of year-round activities.

How is that so?

The Rio Salado means Salt River in Spanish. Named by explorer missionary Father Eusebio Kino in 1698. Historically it regularly had water between these banks, which also sometimes flooded over.

Now this Rio Salado River in Arizona (a redundant term, you may notice!) flows on rare occasions, such as during monsoon season. But let's see where & how the big change came to this dry river bed!

A Better River Plan for Tempe AZ

Students at Arizona State University grew weary of that unkempt, unpleasant, dry river bed running though Tempe. Their architecture department began action: beginning the Rio Salado Project.

It began as an inland Seaport design with greenbelt areas & recreation. They put in hours of design work & got city cooperation. Eventually involving businesses & citizen input into their plan. They had many roadblocks to get by, including removing garbage & contaminating elements from ground surfaces to be used.

Water had to be sourced from CAP (Central Arizona Project) water via a canal. Thus they had to arrange allocations for that valuable Colorado River water.

By 1999 it was ready for use. And you can go there, to use its facilities today. The Project itself continues still, to make improvements as the need arises.

The Salado River Project enabled 40,000 additional jobs in the area. A related foundation preserves area historic features.

Some of the things to do at Tempe Town Lake are taking the kids to the Children’s Splash Pad, going out on the lake with a slow boat, walking over the Pedestrian Bridge & checking events at the Tempe Center for the Arts. Maybe you'd want to attend!

But there is so much more!

Thanks for much of this detail from Shannon Maki. Our reference:

Maki, S. (n.d.) Rio Salado Project. Salt River Stories. Retrieved from

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Any Coming-Up Travel Plans?! Good through Jan. 3, 2023. Don't Miss This!

Lake Joke of the Month!

  • A frog was sitting on a lily pad in the middle of a river. He says to a toad on the shore, "Hey, look at me, I'm on a lake!" 
  1. The toad yells back, "Nooo! Actually you're in de-nile"
woman looking amusedAaah! Funny!!

Some Lakeside Observations

In days gone by, when our granddaughters were pre-teenaged, we took them camping with us. In the travel trailer we had at that time. (How many varieties of RVs we've had! Not to mention tents!)

That one year we took them to a Lakeside Site in New Mexico to celebrate Thanksgiving. They had that school break.

It was Elephant Butte Lake, the state park there. Of course Gramps made many a joke for those giggling girls about the lake's name!

Could that be an idea for a holiday celebration for you?!

We didn't have room to cook a full turkey, etc. But we managed with part of a turkey, some stuffing, veggies & potatoes & easy to-do rolls. Plus of course pumpkin pie for dessert! We really had fun & enjoyed the change of pace. Plus, of course, being with our granddaughters!

However you celebrate Thanksgiving, or however you give Thanks - May you have a wonderful, joyous time doing so!

Happy Thanksgiving Cooked Turkey

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See you again next month.

Meanwhile, enjoy your lakeside adventures!

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