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Colorado River - Martinez Lake History

The Colorado River was a waterway of major commercial importance in the late 1800's and was plied by steam ships from the mouth of the river at the Sea of Cortez, all the way up to the Mojave area, a distance of over 250 miles. The river was for the most part navigable, but the level and flow fluctuated dramatically with the snow pack and snow melt and could be a raging current in the spring and a mere trickle in the winter. As the railroads developed, and the river lost its importance as a waterway, the need for water for irrigation and the desire to control the river and eliminate flooding resulted in a series of dams that were completed in the 1930's. As a result, the Colorado River is the most utilized river in the world relative to irrigation, human consumption, and the creation of power. The river and its drainage basin encompass 8% of the total area of the United States. It is a magnificent body of water that includes Lake Powell, Lake Meade, the Grand Canyon, Lake Mojave, Lake Havasu, and the Imperial Reservoir.


Yuma Valley Contractors

Jacobson Companies

Martinez Lake Resort

When the Imperial Dam was completed in 1935, Martinez Lake was formed as part of the Imperial Reservoir and the Colorado River System. Martinez Lake is a lake 1/2 mile by 3/4 of a mile, immediately off of the Colorado River, located 8 miles above the Imperial Dam and 65 miles south of the Blythe diversion dam. A large portion of Martinez Lake was formed as a result of the Imperial Dam. The land on which Martinez Lake Resort now is developed was an original grazing lease parcel managed by the Martinez family, and patented in the 1920's. It was the only piece of fee land privately owned on the water between Ehrenberg, south of Blythe to the Imperial Dam and on the Arizona side.

Martinez Lake Resort

Martinez Lake Resort was started in 1955 as a fishing camp and has expanded over the past 50+ years into a year-round destination that caters to winter visitors, sightseers, fishermen, rock hounds, photographers, boaters, hunters and water skiers. The Resort is a privately owned site that encompasses 135+/- acres. Commercial components include the Shepard Water Company, Martinez Lake Restaurant and Bar, Marina Store, Gas Dock, 100 Boat Dock Slips, 25 unit RV Park, 8 Motel Units plus 21 overnight trailer rentals, the Bailey House and an old Trading Post both of which are overnight rental houses.

Surrounding Martinez Lake Area

In early 1990's, the Bureau of Land Management turned over a large portion of land, totaling 2,600 acres, to the Arizona State Land Commission. This land encompasses the surrounding Fisher's and North Shore home sites and Fishers Landing. In 1992, approximately 113 homesites were sold with fee simple ownership by the Arizona State Land Commission to the lessees. Today, there are 141 privately owned single-family homesites consisting of 112 water-front and 29 interior sites in the general Martinez Lake area. Martinez Lake Development will introduce an additional 136 lots for private ownership into the community. Geographically, they are broken down as follows:

North Shore Homesites South Shore-Fisher's Lagoon Homesites Existing Privately Owned Martinez Lake Homesites Total Existing Homesites Proposed Martinez Lake Development Homesites
Water-Front 36 Water-Front 64 Water-Front 12 112 Water-Front 55
Interior 11 Interior 16 Interior 2 29 Interior 81
Total 47 Total 80 Total 14 141 Total 136

Hidden Shores is still under the control of the Bureau of Land Management, leased on a long-term lease with a private operator. In addition, a large portion of land is controlled by the Department of Interior, under the auspices of the Imperial Wildlife Refuge. Fishers Landing encompasses approximately 150.55+/- acres and is leased to a private operator with the lease expiring within the next year. The Arizona State Land Department has scheduled a public auction for a commercial long-term lease for Fishers Landing sometime in 2007/2008.

Martinez Lake Development

In December 2005, Martinez Lake Development purchased a portion of the Martinez Lake Resort land that encompasses approximately 20.70+/- acres. At the time of acquisition, a tentative subdivision map for 140+/- lots had been submitted to the Yuma County Planning Department. Subsequent to the acquisition, necessary approvals have been obtained for a residential 140+/- lot subdivision. Currently, the land area is leased on a month-to-month term to tenants who own their improvements. The majority of the sites are improved with older mobile homes or park model trailers. In addition, there are 22 site built cabins. Currently, all improvements are served by multiple septic systems, an older water system operated by Shepard Water Company, above ground electricity and individual propane tanks.

The Jacobson Companies located in Yuma have been instrumental in the design, development and construction of the project. Bruce Jacobson of Jacobson Engineering has been working on the development design since the early 1980's. Subdivision improvements are being constructed by Yuma Valley Contractors. Upon completion of the subdivision, site improvements being made include underground sewer connection to Fisher's Sewer Works LLC, underground electrical and a newly installed water system, including individual meters served by 55,000 gallon water tank. Additionally, fiber optic conduit is being laid underground for future use. In addition to underground utilities, fire hydrants will be placed throughout the development along paved streets. The subdivision will transition the use of the site from mobile home and recreational vehicle use to newly constructed single-family homes. CCR's will be implemented at the time of sale with maintenance transferred to the County via an established Improvement District.

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