Snowflake is in east-central Arizona 30 miles south of Holbrook on state Route 77. The Mogollon Rim and the White Mountains, south, and west of Snowflake, form an almost continuous barrier protecting the community from severe winters and creating a semi-arid climate.
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Founded in 1878, Snowflake was named after its founders Apostle Erastus Snow and Mormon land agent William Flake. At an elevation of 5,600
feet, it lies in a broad, flat valley drained by the Cottonwood
and Silver Creeks. Established in 1881, it incorporated in 1948.
Arizona’s only pulp and paper mill is Snowflake’s largest industry.
Stone Container, located on a 640-acre site 15 miles west of
Snowflake is one of the most modern and efficient facilities of
its type in America. Its daily production of 1,300 combined tons
of newsprint and Kraft liner board supplies the fast-growing
Southwest region. The plant’s permanent employees are supplemented
by an equal number who work as woodcutters, truckers
and in other affiliated jobs. The annual payroll and the mill’s
substantial contribution to local taxes contribute immensely to
the economy and growth of the area.
Lion Industries Inc. distributes paper-manufacturing chemicals to
Stone Container. Precision Pine and Timber maintains a sawmill
in the Heber area that converts logs into rough boards. Precision
Pine and Timber Planer Mill surfaces the rough lumber that is
wholesaled to retailers and dealers needing finished and rough
lumber for railroad ties and other uses.
P.F.F.J., Inc., is a large swine production company, producing
market pigs for Clougherty Packing. P.F.F.J.’s 130 employees
work in areas of production, maintenance, feed milling, transportation, and administration. Smith Molding and Snowflake
Lumber & Molding are two other major employers in the area.
Farming and ranching continue to be major activities in the area.
All of Navajo County is an Enterprise Zone.
Snowflake lies in an area of great contrasts – barren desert to
the north and mountain range to the south. One of the nation’s
most unique parks lies north of Snowflake, the Petrified Forest
National Park, which includes not only the Petrified Forest, but
the Painted Desert and Navajo Indian Reservation with attractions
such as Monument Valley and Oraibi, the oldest continually
occupied village in the U.S.
To the south and west of Snowflake are high mountains and
forests, including the White Mountains, Sitgreaves National
Forest, and the Mogollon Rim. Many small lakes, perfect for
trout fishing and swimming, are scattered throughout these
mountains. The Sunrise Ski Resort is located 65 miles south of
Snowflake on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.