What lands are included in the proposed regional park?
Thanks to good work over the years by the Prescott City Council, Open Space Advisory Committee, and open space advocates, the seeds have already been planted for an amazing regional park to grow from! The starting point would include Watson and Willow Lake Parks, Watson Woods, Constellation Trails, the Peavine and Iron King Trails, the Granite Gardens trails, and other city-owned open space parcels. Land exchange or acquisition of State Trust, County, and private lands would be authorized and pursued within the Park’s administrative acquisition boundary.
Would private lands be condemned or taken through eminent domain into the proposed regional park?
No! Any remaining undeveloped lands within the administrative acquisition boundary of the regional park would be priorities for fair-market purchase, conservation easements, or deed restrictions (donations would be accepted too, of course!). Until the point that willing landowners choose to convey their lands into the park, those lands would remain in private ownership and private control. In the case of Arizona Eco Development’s lands in the Dells, the developer is already required to put at least 25% of their land into open space. WHAT WE ARE CONCERNED WITH IS LESS THAN 20%! Save the Dells is hoping to work with the developer and the City to ensure the most important lands are protected for public enjoyment and the developer has the flexibility to pursue a profitable plan elsewhere on their 15,000+ acres.
How would a regional park be paid for?
A Granite Dells Regional Park is a nationally significant opportunity for community-based
conservation. This can be an “if you build it, they will come” example of smart regional
planning. If the Prescott Region decides that this is what we want for the Granite Dells and
surrounding lands, it won’t be hard to secure government grants, non-profit foundational
support, and major philanthropic donations to support land purchases or other conservation
agreements. Local, state and federal government sources of funding for community park
development currently exist and would be easily secured if stakeholders and partners show a coordinated level of interest and commitment to see the plan through.
Who would benefit from a Granite Dells Regional Park?
The benefits from a regional park would be instant, enduring, and sustainable for
generations! This Park would better the lives of people in Prescott, Prescott Valley, and Chino Valley – residents and visitors alike – with access to healthy recreational and educational experiences in our municipalities. Our children and all future generations would be able to experience the beauty and wild western character provided by this park in the heart of a growing metropolitan region. If we choose, this Park could preserve the history of the Yavapai people who once lived in the Dells; the Prescott railroad, which is now the Peavine Trail; the Chino agricultural era, which built the Willow and Watson Dams; the old Granite Dells Resort; by-gone ranching days; and more remarkable moments in Prescott’s rich history. In addition, the park would protect essential habitat for our beloved wildlife.
Does the proposed regional park have any ecological values?
Yes! The Granite Dells Regional Park is the nexus of significant wildlife corridors that connect
Glassford Hill to U.S. Forest Service lands to the south and west. The Granite Creek floodplain, which is not developable, is another wildlife corridor connecting the Dells to the vast Chino Valley grasslands. Peregrine Falcons, Golden Eagles, waterfowl, mammals, and many other species would continue to live in and thrive in the middle of a growing city.