by Kelly Tolbert, Recreation Services Coordinator, Prescott Parks and Recreation
It has been said many, many times and likely will continue to be reality that community partnerships are the lifeblood of the City. This is especially true for the Recreation Services Department and the scope of daily operations. The Department maintains approximately 3,220 acres of properties such as designated lakes, parks (including multiuse ball fields), trails, open space and golf courses.
One of the most recent products stemming from an incredibly valuable partnership between a local nonprofit, Ecosa Institute (an ecological design school), and the City of Prescott is the purchase of a trail easement stretching through the heart of the Granite Dells. Part of the reason this collaboration is so unique is the nature of Ecosa’s mission, which is “to restore health to the natural environment, and thus the human environment, through education in design.” While the City showcases over 100 miles of multiuse trails, the purpose of Ecosa’s Living Legacy Project fulfills a different niche. The intent for the 47-acre parcel is to protect and conserve nature for the use of educational and research purposes.
This will be accomplished, in part, through the presence of interpretive signage intended to educate the public on sustainable urban design concepts largely unknown to the general public. Ecosa is working with a local fabricator, Cerberus Ironworks, on design and implementation of sustainable, naturally aesthetic signs, with private funding through grants received from Freeport-McMoRan, Inc., the Greater Prescott Outdoors Fund, and proceeds from an event hosted by local eatery, BiGa by Senses. The signs will be constructed from steel made in the U.S..
Observably, the trail itself will be an asset to visitors and residents of the community, but there are many unspoken assets resulting from the Ecosa/City of Prescott partnership. Any collaboration should be mutually beneficial to each party, and this one is no exception. Throughout the past decade and a half, Ecosa has provided the City with a valuable resource while educating City planners and officials in sustainable urban design. In return, the students from Ecosa are exposed to municipal processes such as planning and zoning.
Access to the Living Legacy Experiential Trail will be available from the existing Basin Trail, which is part of the Willow Dells Slickrock Loops, with parking at the Willow Lake boat ramp. Traversing a relatively short mile, this out-and-back features unique granite formations, at one point crosses Willow Creek, and is quite technical in nature requiring caution for adventurous mountain bicyclists and hikers.
As with many trails in the City, users are asked to remain respectful of surrounding private property owners and remain on the designated trail surface. Trail alignment has been planned with construction scheduled to be completed by the end of the calendar year. The Over the Hill Gang will be assisting with both construction and likely interpretive sign installation. For more information on this or any other City trails visit www.prescotttrails.com.
The City of Prescott also offers parking passes to Watson, Willow, Goldwater lakes and the Peavine National Recreation Trailhead at Sundog Ranch Road for a discounted rate. For more information or to purchase a parking pass online visit www.prescott-az.gov.