MARCH 6, 2013
Remote 60-acre preserve features wildlife habitat and cultural resources
CAREFREE – In an impressive show of shared community values, donors and supporters of the Desert Foothills Land Trust and the Town of Carefree have come together to permanently conserve 60 acres of pristine Sonoran Desert in northern Carefree.
The Town of Carefree used Open Space Development Fees totaling $280,000 to fund the acquisition of 30 acre acres of land, the landowner granted 10 acres to the Land Trust and another nearby landowner, Paul Van Weelden, generously donated an additional 20 acres to the town.
The new preserve, dubbed the Carefree Heritage Preserve, is situated along a rocky wash and features sensitive archaeological resources, significant wildlife habitat and the open, rugged landscape characteristic of our Upland Sonoran Desert.
This model public-private partnership represents an encouraging blueprint for future conservation projects as the Land Trust and its partners continue to preserve more critical habitat.
Both realtor Mark Hazelton, a longtime Land Trust advocate, and Russ Lyon Realty waived their fees for facilitating this transaction.
The late Grace Schoonover, a tireless supporter of the Land Trust and local conservation efforts, was also an early champion for this exceptional site. She shared her extensive archeological knowledge with Land Trust staff and volunteers over more than two decades.
The property is difficult to access and environmentally sensitive, so public access is not currently feasible. However, the Town of Carefree and the Land Trust are jointly developing plans for future guided access, and are working together on a long-term stewardship and management plan for the property.
“This new preserve, and the partnership between Carefree and the Land Trust, is truly a remarkable conservation legacy for our communities,” says Land Trust executive director Sonia Perillo.