The Amphitheater at Fort Tuthill County Park
*Note: A snowstorm took out the Ampitheaters roof last Spring 2012.
The Amphitheater is developed in a natural forest bowl at the heart of Fort Tuthill County Park in Flagstaff, Arizona. Acoustics are magnificent for a wonderful outdoor entertainment experience. Its physical structures blend and complement the natural environment.The facility was constructed in two phases and financing was obtained from multiple sources. Phase I construction began in July 2001 and was completed in June 2002, funded by the Coconino County general fund, parks capital improvements and Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund Grant in the total amount of $1,705,096. Phase II construction was funded by another Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund grant and Coconino Parks and Open Space Program in the total amount of $2,328,839. The Coconino Parks and Open Space Program, a sales tax initiative approved by Coconino County voters in 2002, levies a capital projects tax of one-eighth of one cent per dollar on all sales or uses within Coconino County over an estimated term of ten years. The proceeds are dedicated to land acquisition and development of projects like the Amphitheater. Since its grand opening in May 2006, the Amphitheater has been recognized as Northern Arizona’s largest outdoor venue. Flagstaff’s elevation also makes it the ideal place for spring, summer, and fall concerts and events. The general operating season runs from April through October. It was designed and built to meet the capacity levels identified by a market survey preceding the design process. The stage dimension is 60′ x 40′. The Amphitheater has a capacity of 2,100 general admission lawn seats and 650 fully covered orchestra seats. For vendors and concessionaires, there are 10 available vendor spaces with power and water supply and 20 vendor spaces without utility connection. Camping is also available onsite through the Fort Tuthill County Park Campground for special events and festivals.
Initiated by the county’s lead environmental and natural resources department, Parks and Recreation, conscious efforts are made in terms of energy conservation and environmental sustainability. It is landscaped with native plants that require less water. Natural lighting is optimized in the enclosed rooms. The Amphitheater promotes outdoor activities as it is linked to Flagstaff Urban Trail System and trails along Fort Tuthill County Park — Bridge, Soldiers and Highland. There is also a bike rack to encourage people to ride their bike around the facility and the park.
The growing diverse communities of Coconino County (which happens to be the second largest county in the lower 48 states), including the Parks and Recreation Commission, various nonprofit organizations such as the Friends of Coconino County Parks and local businesses have been involved in and supportive of the Amphitheater from the planning, construction, and funding process to promoting and attending the events.
In 2007, the Amphitheater received the National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials’ Award of Excellence- Facilities. This award recognizes and honors excellence in recreation and park facilities; focuses national attention on the very best of facility design; encourages outstanding efforts in planning, design, construction, and benefits to the community; and serves as resource of information for the highest quality of facility development.
In 2011, Coconino County Parks & Recreation partnered with R Entertainment North to manage the Amphitheater, bring quality and unique entertainment opportunities, and propel tourism and economic development for Coconino County.
Coconino County Parks & Recreation is the lead environmental, natural resources and recreation agency within Coconino County government. It operates and manages six county parks, two conservation natural areas; as well as produces the annual Coconino County Fair.
For additional information, visit coconino.az.gov/parks
About Coconino County Parks & Recreation
Coconino County Parks and Recreation (CCPR) provides parks, trails and open space for passive and active recreational opportunities as well as special events throughout the year. Fort Tuthill County Park welcomes 600,000 visitors each year and hosts approximately 75 special events, including the annual Coconino County Fair, equestrian events and motor sports. Fort Tuthill also features a performing arts amphitheater, picnic areas, a campground, three trails (Soldiers, Bridge & Highland) covering 17 miles of trails on Coconino County property and easements.
The department also operates five other County parks— Peaks View County Park, Sawmill Multicultural Art and Nature County Park, Cataract Lake County Park in Williams, Raymond County Park in Kachina Village, and Louise Yellowman County Park in Tuba City.
Parks and Recreation manages two natural areas. Pumphouse County Natural Area is a 125 acre natural wetlands area in Kachina Village that emphasizes the protection of wetland habitat and water resources. It encompasses Pumphouse Meadow, Pumphouse Wash and Harrenburg Wash.
The newly acquired Rogers Lake County Natural Area is comprised of 2,250 acres of land including 1,400 acres of wetland. It is the centerpiece of Coconino County’s vision for a large, protected wetland landscape that supports incomparable opportunities for outdoor education and research, watchable wildlife programs, interpretation of historic and prehistoric sites, and low-impact recreation.
In April 2011, the Coconino County Board of Supervisors accepted a generous donation of land and buildings from the estate of the late Georgia Frontiere. The 240 acres of land, located adjacent to Rogers Lake, is valued at $5,150,000, with the buildings and improvements. The terms of the donation require that the County agrees to use the property for a public purpose for a minimum of five years. The property is managed by CCPR, with a goal of creating opportunities for programs and events that support and enhance the approved Coconino County Parks & Recreation Master Plan. This will be done in a manner that is complementary to, and compatible with the conservation designation of the adjacent Rogers Lake County Natural Area.
Coconino County Parks & Recreation also implements the Coconino Parks and Open Space Program, a $33 million sales tax program approved by voters in 2002. $19 million is allocated toward acquisition of seven natural areas (including wetlands and wildlife habitat), old growth forests, and other sensitive areas in and around Flagstaff. The Program also includes $14 million for park development, enhancement projects, and historic preservation efforts at Fort Tuthill, trail systems, and full master plan build-out at existing County parks.
For additional information, visit coconino.az.gov/parks