FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Kendrick Park Watchable Wildlife Trail offers two short trails that include a lot of wildlife viewing and listening as well as a history lesson.
The main trails are paved so they are wheelchair accessible. There are two main loops. They are both short. One is a quarter mile and the other is 1.5 miles, but another trail behind the main trails go off in several directions and hikers can add many more miles here, although this trail isn't paved.This area is known as the Ponderosa Pine Management Area.
During a recent "walk in the park," elk could be heard bugling, almost daring hikers to find them.
Birds found here include Steller's jay, northern flicker, pygmy nuthatch, hairy woodpecker and red-tailed hawk.
Everything from chipmunks, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, Abert squirrels, antelope, badgers and coyotes have been found in this park. But the most unusual guest found here may be the long-tailed weasel.
The long-tailed weasel has a long slender body, short legs and a bushy tail. Adult males measure 14 to 18 inches and may weigh up to one pound. The females are about 15 percent smaller. They are gingerish-brown with yellowish white belly fur, but in their northern range they can be pure white in winter. The tip of the tail is black in all seasons.
Long-tailed weasels eat mainly rodents. They are more active at night, but can sometimes be seen during the day. The males are solitary and do not overlap their range, although their range may include the range of several females. It takes newborns 56 days before they are able to catch prey on their own. They are also good swimmers.
The trail is dotted with interpretive signs. One such sign notes that a log corral was built by potato farmers to pen their workhorses from the 1920s to the 1950s. There isn't much left but an outline of wood where the log corral once stood. The farmers cleared rocks to enable cultivation and built fences to keep out the wildlife.
Another interpretive sign tells the story of Col. Henry Kendrick, for whom this park and the 10,418 foot Kendrick Mountain was named for. Born in New Hampshire in 1811, Kendrick took command of Ft. Defiance in 1852. He worked with Henry Lynn Dodge, an Indian agent, to secure peace with the Navajos.
In 1851, Kendrick escorted the first recorded expedition of the San Francisco Peaks, passing through the east end of this park.
In 1857, Kendrick joined the faculty at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. He taught chemistry, mineralogy and geology. He died in 1891.
The elevation is about 7,900 feet and is mostly tree-covered including many beautiful aspens.
The interpretive signs will answer anything about the wildlife, flowers and history.
The parking lot is just off the highway and has restrooms there along with interpretive signs to greet the visitors. This is a great stopping point for those going to or from the Grand Canyon.
Views from the park include San Francisco Peaks and Kendrick Mountain.
For more information, call (928) 526-0866 or visit www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino/recreation/-peaks/kendrick-watchable.shtml.