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C.C. Cragin Reservoir

Situated atop the Mogollon Rim in the Coconino National Forest, C.C. Cragin Reservoir has a storage capacity of 15,000 acre-feet. SRP acquired C.C. Cragin (formerly Blue Ridge) Reservoir from Phelps Dodge Corporation in February 2005 as part of the Gila River Indian Water Rights settlement.

History of C.C. Cragin Reservoir 

To meet its need for additional water, Phelps Dodge built Show Low Lake in 1952 and C.C. Cragin Reservoir in 1965. Phelps Dodge and SRP entered a water-exchange agreement in 1962 to cover diversions and exchanges of water from these facilities.

This agreement confirmed each party's respective water rights in the watersheds of the Salt, Verde and Gila rivers. In addition, it provided SRP with the opportunity to acquire C.C. Cragin Reservoir and its water production facilities — fulfilling Phelps Dodge's obligations under the 1962 agreement to offer the reservoir to SRP.

Phelps Dodge and SRP agreed that if SRP acquired the reservoir, a portion of the water would be delivered to the Gila River Indian Community as part of the Comprehensive Gila River Settlement.

Restoring the C.C. Cragin Watersheds

The C.C. Cragin watershed is listed as a priority watershed within the Western Watershed Enhancement Partnership. It is a critical source of water for the town of Payson, communities in northern Gila County and SRP shareholders.

Together with the Town of Payson, the National Forest Foundation, Coconino National Forest and the Bureau of Reclamation, SRP launched an initiative in 2014 to accelerate the restoration of forest lands that feed C.C. Cragin Reservoir.

The initiative, the Cragin Watershed Protection Project (CWPP), was designed to reduce the risk of wildfire and the resulting impacts to water supplies, air quality, wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities. The environmental assessment performed as part of the CWPP focused on approximately 64,000 acres of land surrounding C.C. Cragin Reservoir, which include the three watersheds that drain into it: East Clear Creek, Bear Canyon and Miller Canyon.

The environmental assessment was completed in 2018 with approximately 37,000 acres within the assessment area identified to begin wildfire remediation efforts, which includes strategic thinning. The decision notice, with these outcomes described, for the CWPP was published in July 2018. SRP is working with the Forest Service and partners to accelerate strategic thinning in the CWPP area.

C.C. Cragin Reservoir today

The C.C. Cragin project consists of a number of facilities, including an electrical transmission line and a generating plant. The majority of the project is located in the Coconino and Tonto national forests.

In addition to satisfying obligations to the Gila River Indian Community, C.C. Cragin will be used to supplement SRP shareholders' water supply and to assist with improving the water supply situation in northern Gila County in accordance with the Arizona Water Settlements Act.

Things to do at C.C. Cragin Reservoir

C.C. Cragin Reservoir, more commonly known as Blue Ridge Reservoir, can be found about 60 miles south of Flagstaff on a graveled forest road near the town of Happy Jack. See the best ways to enjoy this narrow, winding, tree-lined body of water.

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Hit the water

The sides of the canyon are steep and you won’t find any sandy shores, but calm, flat waters make this reservoir a destination for kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding.

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Stay the night

Although there is no designated camping at the lake, you’ll find campsites at Rock Crossing Campground just 3 miles away and dispersed camping in the forest down Forest Road 751.

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Cast your line

Boats under 10 horsepower are allowed and the lake is stocked with rainbow, brown and brook trout by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Enjoy C.C. Cragin Reservoir responsibly

Find resources to plan a safe and fun day on the water at C.C. Cragin Reservoir.

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