JANUARY 20, 2016

Scottsdale, McDowell Sonoran Conservancy
celebrate 25 years of dedication to the preserve

It took an inspired network of citizens to create Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve and a unique public-private partnership to steward its evolution. That partnership between the city and the non-profit McDowell Sonoran Conservancy is marking its 25 anniversary on Jan. 21.

It’s been a quarter century of achievement, discovery and vigilance protecting a scenic natural treasure. Lately, it’s a partnership that’s also garnered national recognition.

The American Society of Landscape Architects presented its prestigious Medal of Excellence to Scottsdale and the Conservancy last November. Judges cited the public-private partnership of the city and the Conservancy to nurture and protect the preserve, which covers roughly one-third of the city.

The City Council formally accepted the award at its meeting Jan. 11 and Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane proclaimed Jan. 21 as McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Day.

“When people share a vision and then work hard to make it happen, great things are possible,” said Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane. “The McDowell Sonoran Preserve is an example of the best of Scottsdale and our tradition of grass-roots, citizen involvement.”

That involvement is exemplified by the Conservancy, which boasts more than 500 volunteers who work with the city to support the preserve and to champion its sustainability for future generations.

”Our stewards patrol and maintain trails, greet visitors at trailheads, lead free public hikes and school programs, conduct scientific research and present community education programs,” said Mike Nolan, executive director. “These trained volunteers help connect the community to the Preserve to enjoy its many benefits.”

The preserve hosted more than 600,000 visits last year. People came to enjoy the beauty and a network of award-winning trails and trailheads hosted and maintained by Scottsdale Preserve staff and Conservancy volunteer stewards.

This season the Conservancy is hosting a number of free programs to introduce citizens to the beauty of the 30,000-acre preserve, the plants and animals that live there and the history of a region with the power to both humble and inspire.  

Activities include a guided hike up Bell Pass from the Gateway Trailhead starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 17, and an Adopt-A-Road Cleanup along Thompson Peak Parkway and the Preserve boundary on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 18.

In his proclamation, Mayor Lane applauded the Conservancy not only for its public outreach, but for fostering partnerships with scientists, academics and conservationists to better understand the Preserve’s environment and ways to protect it for future generations.

Learn more about Conservancy programs and get a complete calendar of events by visiting the Conservancy website.