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The Verde River is the north and northwestern watershed of the Salt Riverâ€“Verde River Watershed that co-join and enter the Gila River at Phoenix, Arizona, located in the U.S. state of Arizona. It is approximately 170 mi (273.5 km) long and carries a mean flow of 1120 ftÂ³/s (31.7 mÂ³/s) at its mouth with the Salt River making it one of the largest perennial rivers within the state.The head of the Verde River begins below the dam that catches water from the Big Chino Wash and Williamson Valley Wash combining to create Sullivan Lake in Yavapai County, Arizona. This occurs during periods of sufficient precipitation. The Verde flows freely above and below ground for 125 miles (200 km) through private, state, tribal and United States Forest Service lands, specifically the Tonto National Forest, before encountering the first of two dams that make Horseshoe Lake and Bartlett Lake. The Verde River and the Salt River confluence near Fountain Hills. The cities of Camp Verde, Clarkdale and Cottonwood are located along the river and constitute the primary population centers.In 1984 the United States Congress designated approximately 65 mi (100 km) of the Verde as Wild and Scenic through the National Wild and Scenic River program.In 1987, a six mile (10 km) stretch of the river was identified by the state of Arizona as a critical natural resource that needed protection and management. This reach of the Verde River, located between the town of Clarkdale (near the Tuzigoot National Monument) and the Bridgeport State Route 89A Bridge, became part of the Arizona State Parks system. The park, which encompasses some 700 acres (2.8 km2), is known today as the Verde River Greenway State Natural Area.