Partnership Creates Recreation Gem in the Desert
[January 30, 2014] PHOENIX – The Nature Conservancy in Arizona and Maricopa County’s Parks and Recreation Department are excited to unveil their cooperative efforts for inclusion of Hassayampa River Preserve as part of Vulture Mountains Recreation Area, including new site design plans.
The 770-acre Hassayampa River Preserve located near Wickenburg is an oasis in the desert with lush forest, marshlands and flowing water, making a home for a variety of wildlife. The preserve also offers diverse educational outreach programs designed to get kids and families excited about nature. The 71,000-acre Vulture Mountains Recreation Area offers an abundance of recreational opportunities, campsites and open space with magnificent views of the Sonoran Desert.
In 2012, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approved a plan by which the Conservancy would partner with the County in ownership and management of the Hassayampa River Preserve. The Conservancy will retain ownership of most of the Preserve, but will transfer ownership of its visitor center, a portion of the river channel and Palm Lake to the County, approximately 77-acres. The Conservancy will put a conservation easement over the property it transfers to the County. An easement is a land protection tool that ensures its natural values are forever preserved.
“Our Hassayampa River Preserve will serve as a gateway to a much larger natural recreation area,” says Patrick Graham, the Conservancy in Arizona’s state director. “This kind of partnership is the future. The Nature Conservancy can continue to preserve our investment in this unique and rare habitat while expanding visitor education and recreation experiences through Maricopa County Parks. By working together we offer so much more. “
“Maricopa County manages one of the largest regional park systems in the country,” says Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Clint Hickman, District 4. “Our hope is to grow and strengthen a new generation of stewards among our residents and visitors.”
On Thursday, February 6th at 4:00 p.m., the agencies will unveil design plans that may include new accessible restroom facilities, an amphitheater, wildlife viewing platforms, new trails, picnic tables along the river, and lake features.
The public is invited to join the agencies for a brief presentation and open house at the Preserve to view the new designs. Plus, The Nature Conservancy and Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department will have experts on hand to answer questions about the history and future of the partnership. It’s happening at the Preserve located at 49614 N. US Highway 60, Wickenburg.
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