What's up with all of these canals? - Garfield and Tango Travel the Long and Winding Road - CycleBlaze

January 28, 2022

What's up with all of these canals?

A bit of history

Since we've been doing lots of riding along the canals in the Valley, I did some research to find out about their history. 

The canals located here add up to more than 180 miles. More miles than all of those in Venice and Amsterdam combined!

The canals were built along the waterways first dug by an ancient civilization called the Hohokam. These people wanted to draw water from the Salt River to grow their crops. 

From the longer Grand and Arizona Canals to the shorter Western Canal, there are 9 major canals intersecting each other as they crisscross the Valley. Some have paved multi-use paths running alongside of the water while others just have gravel paths. 

They average 80 ft wide to 17 ft deep. Back in the day, swimming in them was allowed but not any more. But fishing is permitted, all though it's only catch and release. Several species of fish live in the water - carp, catfish, and bass. A type of carp from China called the white amur was planted in the canals to help keep the waterways clear.  This carp can eat up to 3/4 of its weight in algae and weeds.

While I've only spotted mallards on the canals, other waterfowl can be often be seen.

So, there you go - a bit of history to expand your minds!

Just one of many canals in the Vallley.
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Bill ShaneyfeltAfter graduating, I lived in east Phoenix and worked in Tempe. No car, so I rode my bike the 10 miles, much of it being on canal maintenance roads. They are much improved now.
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