The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted this week to add another jewel to the Parks and Recreation Department’s crown.
Approval of the agreement between The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Parks & Rec moves Maricopa County one step closer to assuming full management of the Hassayampa River Preserve.
In this Agreement, TNC agreed to donate and the County accepted TNC’s donation of two parcels of land as follows:
- a 65.3-acre parcel of land described in the Agreement as “Fee Property” (the Visitor’s Center and Palm Lake); and
- a 646-acre parcel of land described in the Agreement as “Leased Property” (river corridor and Sonoran Desert upland).
The “Fee Property” and its associated well and water rights will be deeded to the County via the Gift Deed with Reservation of Conservation Easement and Access. The “Leased Property” will be leased to the County until property boundary discrepancies have been resolved, at which time the property will be deeded to the County.
“The Hassayampa River Preserve is a beautiful and unique area. We are excited to add it to the diverse collection of open space parks that the County manages and operates,” said Maricopa County Supervisor Clint Hickman, District 4.
“These kinds of transitions take time,” added Chairman Denny Barney, District 1. “We’re fortunate to have good partners helping us ensure this valuable land will be properly maintained.”
The Conservancy purchased the Preserve near Wickenburg in 1986 from Norman and Dorothy Lykes. Ultimately, Hassayampa will serve as the gateway to the much larger Vulture Mountains Recreation Area, comprised of 71,000 acres owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) west and south of the preserve, which will be cooperatively managed by the County and BLM in the future.
“Our team has been working closely with The Nature Conservancy staff for the past year to ensure that we have an in-depth understanding of the Hassayampa River Preserve’s eco-system, and a clear understanding of the experience preferences of Preserve visitors,” said R.J. Cardin, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department Director. “Having our staff in the Visitor’s Center will enhance our level of understanding of the daily operations of the Preserve and our commitment to the project.”
To learn more about the project, visit the Maricopa County Parks website or contact us at (602) 506-2930.