Grant Details – 10/13/2016

Looking across the Pusch Ridge Wilderness towards Charouleau Gap from near the Linda Vista Trails. September 2016.
Looking across the Pusch Ridge Wilderness towards Charouleau Gap from near the Linda Vista Trails. September 2016.

Last month in Bears, Steward, Grants, 2006 – 9/10/2016 I included basic information from Arizona State Parks Approves 29 Grants to Enhance Trails throughout AZ about a number of local organizations that received grants – a quick/friendly email to the Grant Program Leader for Arizona State Parks was all that was needed to get a few more details – it is great to see these organizations applying for, and receiving, grant money to help improve outdoor recreation in Southern Arizona! 

 

Catalina State Park

Catalina State Park is located within Coronado National Forest and is managed by Arizona State Parks in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service.

The Bridle Trail is a heavily used trail with a trailhead and approximately 1.4 miles long beginning in Catalina State Park and extending into the Coronado National Forest. The Bridle Trail is a relatively flat, slightly curved trail. The trail surface is predominantly a compacted sand substrate, although rocky protrusions exist in a few areas. Maintenance is needed to prevent resources damage and provide for public safety.

This project will add approximately 6″ of base rock as well as 3″ decomposed granite (DG) to Bridle Trail in Catalina State Park. The trail affected is 1.4 miles long and 10 feet wide. Material haulers, compacting equipment, a water truck, and a vibratory roller designed for trail work (narrow base) will be used to spread and compact the surface. Other hand tools will be used to clear brush, prune encroaching vegetation and further manicure the trailhead.

The improvements will provide a quality and safe recreation experience.

 

Coronado NF—Santa Catalina Mountains

As the US Forest Service continues to experience a decline in a located funding, the dispersed recreation program on the Santa Catalina Ranger District has been unable to secure the resources needed to adequately maintain and ensure the safe conditions of its many multiple-use trail ls. The District has approximately 245 miles of multiple-use, National Forest System trails which receive 1 .5 to 2 million visitors each year, according to National Visitor Use Monitoring data. Over the past 14 years, the Santa Catalina Ranger District has experienced several above-averge flood events and two catastrophic wildfires that have exacerbated the need for trail maintenance to sustain the desired recreational opportunities for the annual visitor base.

While the popularity of recreation continues to increase exponentially, the District does not have a trail crew or the personnel required to keep these multiple-use trails maintained within the required specifications and standards, including those criteria that must be met for public safety. The District trails listed in this application have had minimal cyclic maintenance in recent years and are currently in desperate need of corridor expansion, brushing, logging and tread work to mitigate public health and safety concerns, and to provide a better recreation experience for the increasing visitor population. If awarded, these funds will benefit millions of visitors by improving their safety and enhancing their experience on the Santa Catalina Ranger District. These funds will also help to provide training opportunities for our volunteers as they work together with the conservation crews to accomplish these projects.

 

Oro Valley

The Honey Bee Canyon Park Trail Rehabilitation Project will include routine trail maintenance on the existing 2.03 miles of trails within the park.  Honey Bee Canyon Park is a 62-acre natural passive park within the Rancho Vistoso  master planned community.  It features a trail system, two ramadas, and a restroom facility.  The Honey Bee Canyon Park trail system connects to other Oro Valley and Pima County trails.  The park is heavily used on a local and regional basis by residents and visitors.   It was operated by Pima County  until2012, when it was transferred  to the Town of Oro Valley.

The scope of work for this project will include:

l.        Trail clearing – in areas where trail is impassable/difficult (i.e. very rocky)

2.         Re-delineation of trails using available rock where trail tread direction is not evident

3.          Repair of trail where necessary (i.e. in areas where erosion  creates big gullies in trail)

4.         Replacement and/or repair of areas with steps using railroad ties or similar

5.         Repair of natural trail from parking area – making switchbacks easier/safer

A materials storage/staging area will be located in an already cleared area close to the first Ramada.  It is anticipated that a Bobcat might be needed, and will be provided.

The goal of this project  is to enable visitors to have a better travel experience within the park by providing them with safer and better delineated  trails, without losing the appreciation of the natural environment.

 

Climbing Association of Southern Arizona

The Santa Catalina Trails Project will provide maintenance and restoration on heavily used Santa Catalina Ranger District Forest

Service trails that are used by rock climbers, hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers.

21.5 miles of trails will be targeted, which will include the following trails: Bellota, Trail #39, Bug Springs, Incinerator Ridge, Aspen Trail, Marshal Gulch, Meadow, Trail #5, and Finger Rock.

The project will accomplish the following goals:

x    Utilize the local Arizona Conservation Corps (AZCC), with crews composed of up to 50% local youth, to perform maintenance and restoration work.

x    Develop and implement, in partnership with the Santa Catalina Ranger District, a training program to teach all trail users (rock climbers, hikers, equestrians, and mountain bikers) how to perform basic trail maintenance to Forest Service standards.

x    Coordinate and deploy AZCC crews and volunteers sanctioned by the Santa Catalina Trails Project training program (above) to perform maintenance and restoration work as needed by the Santa Catalina Ranger District.

x    Integrate targeted trail maintenance with CASA’s (Climbing Association of Southern Arizona) existing volunteer Adopt a Crag program through joint events with AZCC and other user groups such as the Arizona Trail Association.

 

Association of 4WD Clubs

The purpose of this grant is to create a pilot program that would enhance partnerships between public land managers, motorized recreational users and the general public.  The main focus of this grant is to visit schools, dealerships, organized motorized groups and attend community events to provide Off-Highway information to the general public and listen to concerns and issues related to the Off-Highway Vehicle Program.  The project will work closely with Arizona State Parks and Trails, OHV Ambassadors, and Arizona Game and Fish to provide information related to the program and develop programs that can be used in schools.

Honey Bee Canyon Trail Access Issue – 9/4/2016

Pusch Peak from Honeybee Canyon Park in Oro Valley. August 2016.
Pusch Peak from Honeybee Canyon Park in Oro Valley. August 2016.

Bicycle Tucson recently made two posts – Honeybee neighborhood to attempt bike ban Oct. 1 and Show your support for trail access at OV town council – that you should read about an access issue in the Honeybee Canyon/Rancho Vistoso/Oro Valley area.

Access has been an issue in this area before – see After 30 years of fighting and compromise, Rancho Vistoso nearly complete for some details back into the 1990s and HONEYBEE CANYON/TORTOLITA MOUNTAIN ACCESS UPDATE for more recent history – and it appears that there may be an upcoming chance to influence future access – posted to Facebook by The Damion Alexander Team:

The Home Owner Association at Honeybee Ridge has put up a sign saying that trail access via the easement off of Quiet Rain Dr. will be closed as of October 1, 2016.

There are differences of legal opinion as to if the HOA has the authority to do this. Regardless of if they have the law on their side, what is clear is the community needs to create a permanent access to these trails.

We need the elected officials to know how important this for the kids and families, businesses, tourism, health and vitality of Oro Valley and the region. HoneyBee/Rail X Ranch Trails offer some of the best beginner trails in the region and are often used in the National promotion of our region.

At the city council meeting on September 7th at the call to the audience the cycling community and other trail users need to show up and tell the mayor and council how important this access point is. We also need to make them aware of other options (AND THE CURRENT LACK THERE OF) for accessing Honeybee trail.

With the current election many in candidates are calling for a new and improved Oro Valley. One that is not known as just a retirement community. Because of this our voice will resonate louder. Please take your time and show up for this meeting. If you can’t make this one, show up at the next one. We are going to need to keep a constant vigil to save our trails.

The meeting is at 6:00 PM on September 7th. at the Oro Valley Town Hall. 11000 N La Canada Drive Oro Valley, AZ 85737

Sunset and Stadium Lights on the Linda Vista Trail – 4/29/2016

Sunset from the Linda Vista Trails. April 2016.
Sunset from the Linda Vista Trails. April 2016.

A short hike up the trail, pictures of the sunset and watching the dying light – gradually, as it got darker, we noticed a glow – it was too early for the moon and it took us several minutes to realize that nearby stadium lights were illuminating the landscape – lighting up the clouds, cliffs, ridges and saguaros.

Saguaro, clouds, stars and Pusch Ridge from the Linda Vista Trails. April 2016.
Saguaro, clouds, stars and Pusch Ridge from the Linda Vista Trails. April 2016.
Heading down towards Oro Valley by headlamp - Linda Vista Trails. April 2016.
Heading down towards Oro Valley by headlamp – Linda Vista Trails. April 2016.
In the dark, Pusch Ridge Wilderness. April 2016.
In the dark, Pusch Ridge Wilderness. April 2016.

Rock Art, Ranch, and Residence: Cultural Resources in the Town of Oro Valley and Its Planning Area – 1/20/2016

Snow and clouds on the top of the mountain. January 2016.
Snow and clouds – looking up at Mount Lemmon from Honeybee Canyon Park. January 2016.

Having taken several trips to Honeybee Canyon Park in the past few months I was looking for a little more information about the area and came across Rock Art, Ranch, and Residence: Cultural Resources in the Town of Oro Valley and Its Planning Area. This document was developed by William Self Associates for Oro Valley and completed in 2010.

The document covers the history of the Oro Valley area from the Paleoindian Period (10,000+ years ago) into the 20th century – some of the included information: Hohokam ruins such as Honey Bee Village and Sleeping Snake Village, early land claims in the area, notable 20th century architecture including the Countess of Suffolk’s Forest Lodge and information about later development in the area. While most of the information is fairly brief the broad overview was very interesting to read.

One of the details that I enjoyed was seeing the General Land Office maps of the Oro Valley Area. The General Land Office was created in 1812 and oversaw the survey, platting and sale of public land – including land in present day Oro Valley. The Oro Valley records are from the beginning of the 20th century when the area began to see a steady stream of homesteaders entering the area –  Rock Art, Ranch, and Residence asserts that:

The relatively late beginning for the settlement along the Canada del Oro can be attributed in large part to a continuing perception of the area as dangerous: it was still considered a place too far from Tuscon and too close to the usual range of the Apaches. (p. 60)

The Bureau of Land Management makes many General Land Office Records, dating back to 1810, available online. The map below, from 1902, shows Pusch and Zellweger’s Steam Pump Ranch (which you can still visit today)  – labeled Pusch Ranch – and another ranch – ‘Mexican Ranch’ – that was probably owned by the Marin family and later patented by Francisco Marin. The roads on the map are a reasonable match for modern roads – the early version of Oracle Road is especially easy to recognize!

Township 12 South, Range 14 East, 1902 - General Land Office.
Township 12 South, Range 14 East, 1902 – General Land Office.

 

Sunset on the Santa Catalina Mountains from Honey Bee Canyon Park – 12/20/2015

A ribbon of sunset light on the Santa Catalina Mountains. December 2015.
A ribbon of sunset light on the Santa Catalina Mountains. December 2015.

Honey Bee Canyon Park in Oro Valley is a small park with trails winding thru beautiful desert squeezed between the many homes in the area – definitely worth visiting and at sunset the views of Pusch Ridge and the west side of the Santa Catalina Mountains are amazing.

Sunset light on the west side of the Santa Catalina Mountains. December 2015.
Sunset light on the west side of the Santa Catalina Mountains. December 2015.
Last light on Table Mountain. December 2015.
Last light on Table Mountain. December 2015.