Colorado River Indian Reservation lands are in Arizona (225,995 acres) and California (42,696 acres). Tribal lands are low arid desert and river bottom with abrupt mountain ranges. The Colorado River provides 90 miles of shoreline running north to south through the reservation. In 1864, Charles Debrille Poston, the first Indian superintendent for Arizona, selected the area as Arizona's second Indian reservation. It was established March 3, 1865, for the “Indians of said river and its tributaries.” The Mohave have inhabited the area for centuries, while members of the Chemehuevi, Hopi, and Navajo tribes relocated to the Reservation later. The incorporated community of Parker is located on and surrounded by Reservation lands. A second community, Poston, is located on the Reservation, 20 miles south of Parker.
Reservation economy is centered on agriculture, recreation, government and light industry, which are expanding. The fertile river-bottomlands and available water allow irrigated agriculture that produces cotton, alfalfa, wheat, feed grains, lettuce, and melons. Approximately 84,500 acres are now under cultivation and another 50,500 are available for development. The Colorado River is the basis of an established recreation and tourism industry. Marinas, lodging facilities, food and beverage establishments, beaches, mobile home parks, and cabanas have been built. Recreational development leases and home site leases are available. In addition, the Blue Water Casino opened in April 1995and employs over 250. A new casino and 200-room hotel will open in early 1999.
The Colorado River, dams and lakes are the Reservation's greatest recreational and scenic attractions. Lakes Moovalya and Havasu are formed behind Head gate and Parker Dams. Facilities for swimmers, boaters and water-skiers may be found along the shoreline. River fishing for trout, stripped bass, bass, catfish, crappie and bluegill is excellent. Dove, quail, waterfowl, rabbit and predator hunting is excellent. Reservation hunting and fishing permits are required. Tribal occupation of the area is evidenced by petroglyphs, pictographs, ancient trails and intaglios. The Tribal Museum and Library attempt to preserve and interpret the heritage of each of the four tribes of the Reservation as well as the general history of the area. Through the Museum, the Tribes maintain two national historic sites, the Old Mohave Presbyterian Mission, recently renovated, and the Old Arizona frontier community of La Paz, Arizona. These are open to the public. Reservation