Granite Dells regional park & preserve | A lasting Solution
beyond the aed annexation
For the last six years of Save the Dells, our driving conservation goal has been to permanently preserve the remaining undeveloped portions of the Granite Dells (the Dells) as part of a publicly accessible Granite Dells Regional Park & Preserve.
This goal reflects the majority wishes of the Prescott community and the stated objectives of Prescott’s General Plan and Open Space Master Plan. These park lands should be preserved in their natural state as much as possible, while still allowing activities that have minimal impact such as hiking, biking, rock climbing, and horseback riding.
Our initial objective was to achieve a fair annexation deal with Arizona Eco Development (AED) that would protect as public open space approximately 500 acres currently proposed for development, including the iconic Point of Rocks, the Peavine and Iron King Trails, and an ecologically important riparian area that all interconnect with existing City of Prescott (City) open space. The 474 acres of Natural Open Space (NOS) transferred into public ownership in the July 2021 AED Annexation did just that, creating a significant anchor for a regional park & preserve.
what area is included in a park & preserve?
We see the extraordinary beauty of the recently acquired Granite Dells acreage as an important anchor of this much larger vision. The proposed park, in cooperation with Prescott Valley, would also encompass large sections of land on Glassford Hill, Watson Woods Riparian Preserve, the recently purchased Storm Ranch that abuts Glassford Hill, and sections of city land around and including Watson Lake Park and Willow Lake Park.
In May 2022, the City of Prescott, Town of Prescott Valley, and Yavapai County signed an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) committing to acquiring Arizona State Trust Lands in the vicinity of Glassford Hill.
a regional oasis for the people, by the people
The park and preserve will be more than an attractive and alluring piece of geography; it will provide critical, contiguous sanctuary habitat for threatened wildlife protected from the increasingly dense urbanization of our county, an interpretive center for visitors to learn the natural history of the region, and miles of trails designed by Prescott's own Chris Hosking and the Over the Hill Gang. From a city perspective, the park would put the Quad Cities on the map, generating tourist revenue from state-wide and national visitors and making it unmistakably clear that our communities value and support this kind of planned open-space development.
A park and preserve has immense sociological significance, allowing people of different backgrounds and socio-economic and political differences to walk the same trails and broaden their understanding of their community. Quad cities folks long separated by geography will have the opportunity to mingle with their neighbors and discover how much we share in common. In a changing world, the Granite Dells can continue to offer an escape to visitors and residents alike for generations to come.
Let's make sure the dells never need saving again.
Without a permanent solution, the Granite Dells land in the public Natural Open Space portfolio is at risk of being re-assigned a different use designation or even SOLD to private or commercial entities by a future city council who may not share public values of conservation and open space preservation.
The time is now to cement this legacy for people, wildlife, and community by pursuing protective actions such as working with a land trust to create conservation easements on this land.