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Ayer Lake is a man-made reservoir that supplies the Boyce Thompson Arboretum with irrigation water. The lake has two ramadas offering views of the surrounding area. It is home to several different species of migratory waterfowl, and has been stocked by the State with two species of endangered native fish, the Gila Topminnow and the Desert Pupfish.

Encompassing 323 acres, the Arboretum is Arizona's oldest and largest botanical garden. The Arboretum was founded in the 1920s by mining magnate Col. William Boyce Thompson. In 1917, Col. Thompson served as co-leader of a Red Cross mercy mission to Russia, where he came to understand the importance of plants as the ultimate source of a large portion of mankind's food, clothing, and shelter. It was then that he determined to use his great wealth to improve the use of plant resources. The Arboretum is one of his legacies.

Featured in the Arboretum are plants from the world's deserts, towering trees, captivating cacti, sheer mountain cliffs, a streamside forest, panoramic vistas, many natural habitats with varied wildlife, a desert lake, a hidden canyon, specialty gardens and more.

The Arboretumís website is http://azstateparks.com/boyce-thompson/

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Additional Photos by Mark Freitag (nagalaut) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 12 W: 0 N: 174] (316)
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