Greer still an Arizona gem despite hardships

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by April Warnecke

Bio | Email | Follow: @AprilWarnecke

With guest reporter Greer

Posted on September 4, 2013 at 9:51 AM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 4 at 10:04 AM

GREER, Ariz. -- About four hours east of Phoenix, nestled in the White Mountains at an altitude of 8,500 feet, is the tiny community of Greer

The town has been through a lot over the last two years.  The Wallow Fire burned homes, cabins and lot of forestland in 2011. Then, the historic Greer Lodge closed its doors and then the North Pole Experience moved from Greer to Flagstaff.  But now, the landscape is beginning to come back, and so is the town. 

Temperatures in Greer are about 30 degrees cooler during the summer afternoons than they are in Phoenix.  There are numerous hiking trails through some of Arizona's most breathtaking countryside.  Some hillsides are charred, but many more are not. 

Pam Baltimore with the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest says they're seeing a lot of regrowth and regeneration two years after the fire.  The fire burned in a mosaic, so the burned trees are often mixed into areas that are much more green.  This year's abundant rain from the monsoon has helped even more and there are wildflowers just about everywhere you look. 

As the landscape grows back, business is beginning to thrive again, too. 

Allan Johnson, one of the owners of the historic Molly Butler Lodge, says prices are down on lodging.

The town's recovery could mean a good bargain for those looking to visit Greer.  Although the summer is almost over, Eastern Arizona's beauty is unmatched during the fall when the leaves begin to change on the aspen.  In the winter, the area boasts heavy snow, turning it into a winter wonderland perfect for cross country skiing and other winter fun. 

 

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