Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Vulture Mountain Recreation Area - Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department BLM proposal

Huge County Park proposed north of Wickenburg

Maricopa County State Parks has applied for a lease through the Bureau of Land Management. The proposal calls for a huge 1046 Acre facility to be built at the base of the Vulture Mountains 6 miles outside of Wickenburg. The project will cost taxpayers an estimated 29 million dollars and will be completed in 10 years. The Park will include a huge campground with 84 RV spaces, 7 toilet and shower facilities, 3 RV dumps, 10 tent campsites, 4 Leach fields, and 2 wells. There will also be an OHV and equestrian staging and camping area, Nature Center, Amphitheater and playground. In total, over 120 Acres of raw desert land will be permanently disturbed. The conservation plan is as follows.

Reclamation and Conservation:
MCPRD has included design features to minimize impacts to the Sonoran desert tortoise such as design and development of facilities away from potential sensitive species habitats and reclamation of previously disturbed areas. During construction and operations of the recreational area, the ‘Guidelines for Handling Sonoran Desert Tortoises Encountered on Development Projects’ (AGFD 2014) will be followed. Vulture Mountains Recreation Area will establish as part of its operations plan, educational outreach and learning on the Sonoran desert tortoise as a part of the proposed nature center. 

Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department is proposing the closure of 2.6 miles of public right of way dirt trails. Including a section of the popular Box Wash. Likewise, they are proposing a bypass to go around the park. There will be a total of 20 miles of non-motorized trails developed during the last phase of construction. The Vulture Mountain Recreation Area will correspond with the Maricopa County State Parks fee structure. The entry fee will be $7 per vehicle. Small picnic Ramada rental fee $30. RV space $40 and primitive camping $15.

The Bureau of Land Management will be opening a public scoping period when the environmental assessment is released. Below you will find all of the information you need directly from the Bureau of Land Management E planning website. You can look at documents, maps, and much more detailed information as it's added.

Get involved with the Vulture Mountain Recreation Area proposal

It's important that we get involved and let the Bureau of Land Management know what we think about the proposal. We must consider the impact that it will have on the surrounding wildlife.  We need to consider the 120 acres of raw desert land that will be cleared of vegetation including protected native plants. We need to consider the 60% of all public rights-of-way that were closed down previously in 2016 with the Wickenburg travel management plan. We need to consider the proposed fence line that could funnel wildlife to the main road.

The area is beautiful and teeming with wildlife. Mule deer, javelina, mountain lions, fox, coyotes and the ringtail cat call this place home. Vegetation consists mostly of Acacia, Palo Verde, Creosote, Saguaro, Ocotillo, Barrel, two species of Hedgehog,  three species of Cholla including Christmas Cholla and the rare Queen of the Night cactuses.

Alternatives to the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation proposal are possible. There is an existing area on the Southeast side of Vulture Mine Road. This area has been used for years as an RV camping, OHV, and equestrian staging and event hosting area. There is currently one bathroom facility. This area is cleared of all vegetation. Maricopa County Parks and Recreation could take advantage of this area and improve it. This would provide for a minimal impact on the surrounding environment while still achieving the goals of the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation proposal. This ideal area is included in the proposed plan.

See the documents in the Arizona Bureau of Land Management E planning window below for detailed maps on the proposed Recreation Area.

Locals are concerned about the depleting water table.

The Bureau of Land Management held a public meeting at the Wickenburg Community Center on July 13th, 2017. According to BLM 39 people attended. Locals have expressed their concern about the depleting water table in the area. With severe drought over the past years, there isn't much to go around. Locals fear that this development will only burden the situation.

Please bookmark this post and subscribe to our blog. This post will be continually updated to reflect the records of the Bureau of Land Management E planning website. Furthermore, you will be able to navigate the Bureau of Land Management E Planning website in the window below without leaving the Arizona Backcountry Explorers website.