Anyone accessing the 80-acre park’s trails from one of five entrances from South Virginia Street likely has noticed the information posted on the signs and bulletin board referencing the trails as Barrie Mayes Memorial Trail System.
Barrie Mayes moved his family to Prescott from Southern California in 1968. He immediately joined Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) as a pharmacist, working there the rest of his career.
An outdoor enthusiast, he was a founding member of the local Sierra Club that began in the early 1970s.
Barrie was said to be a “tireless trails advocate,” as well as a pioneer for the Prescott Circle Trail concept.
A member of the Prescott Outings Club (founded in 1975) and Yavapai Trails Association (coalition of non-motorized trail users) he built many of the local trails. Barrie passed away while leading the Prescott Outings Club on a hike to the top of Wheeler Peak in Nevada, doing what he loved.
Charlene Craig, a former Prescott resident and Friends of Acker Park founding member, says members of the Yavapai Trails Association nominated the naming of the Acker Park Trails in Barrie’s memory; it was dedicated Sept. 15, 2001.
Visitors to the trail system can find features such as the wood bench with a viga pole shade roof on the hilltop that was made “lovingly,” Craig says, by Yavapai Trails association supporter Jerry Munderloh.
She says the park has protected map slots and two different plant brochures available to visitors.
“The Acker Park Loop trail guide and map boxes are at the main trail head area,” she says. “The Mural Trail Guide is in a trail side entrance box on the west side of the road to the south of the parking lot and contains information on the plants marked along the trail that passes behind the playground and restroom and ends up by the entrance to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows cemetery where Acker is buried.”
She points out that Cliffroses are found in abundance on the former water tank top site at the north end of the park and have “a very fragrant aroma and are especially wonderfully to enjoy after a summer rain storm.”
There are about 20 commonly found plants varieties in this transitional elevation zone, Craig says, “So seeing high altitude Ponderosa pines and spiny desert Prickly pear growing side by side is not uncommon but seemingly incongruous. Birding is another popular hobby to enjoy at the park.”
In 2016 the Friends of Acker Park set up an endowment fund to support the park’s amenities. To find out more visit www.azfoundation.org/Give-Where-You-Live/Yavapai-County. For more park/trail information go to: www.prescott-az.gov/recreation-area/acker-park.