While current events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have us in uncertain times, we still have much to look forward to. Temperatures are warming and the sun is beginning to shine a bit longer each day. As we all begin enjoying the first musings of spring and anticipate summer, it is the perfect time to take advantage of extra time with family and get out and enjoy one of the greatest assets in our community – our trails.
In the spirit of encouraging social distancing and giving our residents the opportunity to use our trails, parks and lakes, all usage and entry fees have been waived until further notice. The Prescott area is home to a network of more than 500 miles of trails including the Prescott Circle Trail System, the Greenways Trails System and trails surrounding Watson and Willow Lakes. No matter your skill level, there is a trail open and waiting for you. Information regarding Prescott’s trails can be found at prescott-az.gov/recreation-events/recreation-areas/trails/.
The month of April typically kicks off the community’s busiest special event season; however, because of the pandemic, all special events have been placed on hold through at least May 10. Some of those events include: Hike For Hounds, Prescott Punisher Bike Race, Prescott Easter Egg Hunt, Dancing 4 the Stars, Whiskey Basin Trail Run, Earth Day and Wildland Fire Expo, Whiskey Off Road Bike Race, Whiskey Row Marathon and Mountain Artist Guild Fine Art, Craft and Wine Festival. While these events have been canceled for the time being, city staff is working diligently with event organizers to get them rescheduled for later in the year.
Even though our local special events have been put on hiatus, our community has much to offer our residents in the great outdoors. It is important to take the time to get out and about despite some limitations that exist in light of COVID-19. While our surrounding trails offer opportunities for residents and visitors alike to enjoy the National Forest and natural beauty of Prescott, with the recent adoption of the Granite Creek Corridor Master Plan, we also have the opportunity to enhance the urban trail in the very center of our community. Enhancements and improvements along Granite Creek will create a natural trail connecting approximately one mile from downtown Prescott to the future site of the Hilton Garden Inn and updated Granite Creek Park. This area is a gem in our community. Having the opportunity to build upon what is already available to us and make it better is a blessing.
If you seek leisure rather than having a desire to get out and take a hike, Prescott also houses more than half a dozen parks, many of which are connected to our beautiful area lakes. These parks showcase one of the greatest assets of this community, which is our family-friendly environment. Having the opportunity to take advantage of that environment and get into the great outdoors as the weather gets nicer in the spring and summer months brings a smile to my face.
For more information regarding city parks and lakes, please visit the city’s website at prescott-az.gov and select “Recreation Areas” from the Recreation and Events drop down menu. And please, join me; take a moment, get outside, enjoy the sunshine and take in our hometown’s beautiful surroundings. QCBN
By Greg Mengarelli
Greg Mengarelli is the mayor of Prescott.