Remodeling by Mother Nature

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CAVE CREEK –Residents are still adapting to dramatic changes in the land in the area due to heavy rains and flooding associated with monsoon activity over the last weeks.

The storms raised only minor concerns for mountain bikers, despite all the havoc it caused on the trails only two months prior to the Cave Creek Cactus Classic Mountain Bike Race that takes place on Nov. 8.

Kevin Smith, Interpretive Ranger at Spur Cross Ranch Recreation Area said many volunteer hours have already been spent clearing loose rock and debris from the trails and efforts will continue.

Lee Anderson, owner and manager at Spur Cross Stables, believes the storms are just a part of nature and that they contribute to the land’s beauty.

“Mother nature remodels it for us,” Anderson said, followed by a laugh. The stables are looking to establish some trails and get used to the idea that they will be permanent now.

When asked how much the costs will be to repair everything, Anderson said the “value is the time that goes into it.”

There are trails that will definitely have to be rerouted and Anderson’s plan is to work with the Tonto National Forest to get things up to speed. During the rain period, Anderson said they did have to cancel rides; however, they are currently assessing the trails to identify which ones are good enough to take the horses on.

“It’s just really, really muddy and wet,” Anderson said. If the horse’s feet sink in even an inch, that trail is avoided.

Anderson added that the extra moisture has boosted crop growth. He mentioned the second crop of the mesquite bean, the saguaro cactus fruit, and the prickly pears that are nice and fat rather than emaciated.

“The moisture has made it prettier than I have ever seen,” Anderson said.

Diane Vaszily with the Gateway Desert Awareness Park said the area around the park wasn’t as lucky as some of the others. “We are playing with a woman who knows exactly what she’s doing,” she said referring to Mother Nature.

Flood waters in Galloway Wash damaged close to 50 feet of the park that runs on 26 acres.
Vaszily pointed out that every time there is a storm, the water goes a different way.

“The park has been there for 21 years and we have had this problem 21 times,” Vaszily said. The land was donated to the town by Gateway in 1992 because there was nothing to be done with it. Though they knew it would flood during the monsoon seasons, Vaszily said Desert Awareness stepped up to create the park.

Vaszily hopes to see the trails back in shape by Thanksgiving. She feels the town has put the park last on their list in order to repair other necessities. “The biggest expense will be replacing the electricity lines,” she said.

The Desert Awareness Committee is always looking for volunteers who are willing to help and the first meeting of the season will be held on Oct. 16 at 9:30 a.m. at the Holland Community Center.