The Frontiere property is named for Georgia Frontiere, the previous owner of the property and the first female owner of a National Football League team, the Los Angeles Rams, later the St. Louis Rams. Several buildings were built on the 240-acre property, including a main house with stables, horse pens and corral, caretaker’s quarters, and RV sites. The only building occupied was the caretaker’s quarters. Approximately 220 acres remains largely undeveloped and consists of forested uplands of Ponderosa pine and a portion of the western edge of Rogers Lake.
After Georgia Frontiere’s death in 2008, the property was donated to Coconino County in 2011. In that time, the property has been used for weddings, business retreats, meetings, special events, and an artist-in-residency program. The views of the San Francisco Peaks are one of the defining features of the site, as well as watching wildlife and stargazing, courtesy of Flagstaff and Coconino County’s Dark Sky priorities.
The area has prehistoric sites and scatter areas dating back 5,000 years, in addition to old railroad beds and log structures from Flagstaff's sheep herding and logging era. Earlier history of the site includes a homestead near present-day Frontiere, as outlined in Donna Ashworth’s book, Biography of a Small Mountain.
Rogers Lake is an ephemeral lake, meaning water is not necessarily present year-round. The lake fills with water from rainfall and snowmelt. People have been able to kayak or canoe the lake in wet years!
The Natural Area contains a wide variety of native plant community types due to its varied topography, hydrology, and large size. Over 450 plant species have been identified in these communities. The forested uplands surrounding Rogers Lake wetland are made up primarily of ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), typical of northern Arizona forests between 6,000 and 8,000 feet in elevation. Historically, frequent ground fires served to cycle nutrients, regulate the number of seedlings that survived to maturity, and maintain a grassy understory.
Rogers Lake provides unique habitat features and serves as a critical component of landscape connectivity for wildlife species in northern Arizona. More than 350 animal species are known to inhabit the vegetative communities found here. The Natural Area is part of a complex of critical wildlife movement corridors linking habitat surrounding the San Francisco Peaks to the edge of the Mogollon Rim (the Woody Ridge Corridor), and functionally connecting Dry Lake to Garland Prairie (the Garland Prairie Corridor). The focal species that depend on the Woody Ridge movement corridor include pronghorn antelope, mountain lion, elk, mule deer, black bear, badger, northern goshawk, threatened Mexican spotted owl, neotropical migratory birds, bald eagles, golden eagles, Merriam’s turkey, Mexican vole, and several species of bats.
Visitors enjoy the Dark Sky properties of the Natural Area, where stargazing takes center stage. With an average of over 300 clear days every year, Flagstaff offers astronomers and amateur star-gazers ample opportunity to view the night sky. Flagstaff received International Dark Sky City designation in 2001, recognizing the City’s “commitment to and success in implementing the ideals of dark sky preservation and/or restoration, and their promotion through quality outdoor lighting” (International Dark-Sky Association).
Two direct beneficiaries of local dark skies are Lowell Observatory, on the western edge of Flagstaff, and the U.S. Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station, less than two miles northeast of the Natural Area. These organizations support a unique economic sector in Flagstaff, produce world class research, and attract tens of thousands of visitors each year. Maintaining the undeveloped, rural landscape of this area and managing the Natural Area as open space with minimal day-use development ensures continued compatibility with the area’s dark skies resources.
Read more about Georgia Frontiere