The McDowell Sonoran Preserve turns 25

On Oct. 3, 1994, the Scottsdale City Council took a historic step when it passed Resolution No. 4103, formally establishing the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. The “Day One” preserve was 4.5 square miles, or 2,860 acres, consisting of three parcels of city land. 

Since then, Scottsdale voters have provided the financial backing to grow the McDowell Sonoran Preserve into a permanently protected Sonoran Desert habitat encompassing nearly 48 square miles (30,500 acres) with direct connections to the Tonto National Forest and Maricopa County’s McDowell Mountain Regional Park.

The preserve is owned by the residents of Scottsdale and managed through a unique partnership between the city and the nonprofit McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, which is supported by more than 500 volunteers.

October is McDowell Sonoran Preserve month, and two special 25th anniversary commemorations are planned:

  • Honoring Preserve Pioneers - Tuesday, Oct. 1

    Please join us for a celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1, at the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts, 7380 E. Second St. Mayor Jim Lane kicks off the event with the premiere of a video tribute that highlights the foresight and vision of the community to permanently protect the McDowell Mountains and Sonoran Desert. A reception follows in the Atrium with an exhibit of items highlighting the history of the Preserve. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet and greet some of the Preserve Pioneers who were instrumental in the grassroots efforts to create the Preserve. Attendees are then invited to walk a short distance to City Hall where Mayor Lane will present an official proclamation celebrating October as McDowell Sonoran Preserve Month. 

  • Trailhead Dedications - Friday, Oct. 18 

    Join Mayor Lane and other dignitaries to dedicate the preserve's two newest access facilities - the Fraesfield and Granite Mountain trailheads. The event will be at 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 18, at Fraesfield Trailhead, 13400 East Rio Verde Drive. These two trailheads provide public access to the northern region of the preserve for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and rock climbing. Light refreshments will be provided. 

Scottsdale is hosting a variety of free lectures, family events and historical presentations throughout Scottsdale. Click here for a complete list of activities!



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