Number8Springs of Life

BeaverSpringsBig Springs is named for the springs that line the edge of the pond. Basalt rock, common throughout the area, has many cracks and fractures that developed while cooling from its molten state. Those fractures and cracks allow water to seep down until it reaches a less permeable layer. When the water can no longer travel downward, it begins moving sideways through cracks in the basalt.

At Big Springs, this lateral movement begins at a higher elevation and flows downhill until the less permeable rock layer is exposed and water seeps to the surface in the form of springs.

Because the springs maintain a reliable flow of 800 to 1,200 gallons per minute of water at a constant temperature that does not freeze, the pond they feed provides refuge to wildlife on cold winter days.

In addition to waterbirds, many other species of wildlife use Big Springs, including raccoon and even beaver, evidenced by their lodge built in the pond.

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Big Springs is located on Woodland Road, ½ mile south of White Mountain Blvd. (State Route 260), adjacent to the White Mountain Wildlife & Nature Center. Many improvements have been made at Big Springs to facilitate environmental education and public use. Many such improvements were funded by the Arizona Game and Fish Heritage Fund, established by voter initiative in 1990, with funding from the Arizona lottery. The latest improvements and brochure printing were funded by a Secure Rural Schools Act grant from the U. S. Forest Service to the White Mountain Nature Center. Big Springs is managed under a unique partnership. Land ownership is national forest, with a special use permit for an outdoor classroom issued to the Blue Ridge Unified School District. These partners cooperate in its management and enhancement:

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