U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
Banner graphic displaying the Fish & Wildlife Service logo and National Wildlife Refuge System tagline

Bill Williams River
National Wildlife Refuge


60911 Highway 95
Parker, AZ   85344
E-mail: al_murray@fws.gov
Phone Number: 928-667-4144
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Bill_Williams_River/
Gray horizontal line
  History
Continued . . .

The river that flows through the refuge gets its name from Bill Williams, a mountain man who traveled through much of Arizona in the early 1800s. He originally came to the west from St. Louis to be a missionary to Native Americans. He eventually became a trapper. The year and cause of his death are unknown.

A century ago, cottonwood forests were widespread along the Colorado River. In their journals, western explorers such as General John C. Fremont noted miles-thick stands of cottonwood and willow along the banks. They also mentioned the presence of abundant mesquite on the higher reaches.

In 1935, the 726-foot Hoover Dam was built on the Arizona-Nevada border, followed by twenty smaller dams over the following decades. As the water backed up into a series of lakes, many of the riparian forest along the Colorado River were drowned. The Construction of Alamo Dam on the Bill Williams River in 1968 changed the old flood cycle which reduced stands of native cottonwood and willow trees.

 
 
- Back -