Prescott is blessed with a unique setting and natural beauty. Our lakes and trails, our mountain vistas, the Prescott National Forest, open range, and the stunning Granite Dells make Prescott a favorite for visitors and the reason many of us moved here. It is incumbent upon the City of Prescott and our partners in Yavapai County and the National Forest to care for, preserve, maintain and make accessible these natural resources for present and future generations.
The city continues to seek ways to expand our trail system and open spaces. Part of this effort is to work with private property owners to obtain easements and access through or around their property. Recently, the city purchased 160 acres of land in the Granite Dells for the purpose of creating a trail, thus preserving an important natural resource while making it accessible to citizens and visitors alike. In addition, the city recently added 3.2 miles to the Badger Mountain trail. With the help of volunteers from the “Over The Hill Gang,” the trail was cut and will be maintained for generations to enjoy. The city is also working with the Town of Prescott Valley to connect our trail system to Prescott Valley’s via a trail over Glassford Hill.
Since 75 percent of the land in Yavapai County is owned by various federal and state agencies, the city frequently works with these entities to secure access to create more trails. A prime example was the completion of the city’s Circle Trail two years ago by adding an easement to the “P” Mountain (Badger Mountain) through state land. Those who have hiked or biked that portion of the loop can attest to the beauty of the landscapes and views.
Often, the city seeks easements and access from private property owners. When that occurs, the city must be respectful of those owners’ rights. Private property is just that – it is owned by an individual or a corporation that has no obligation to share its land with others. The city must enter a negotiation for land use with this in mind. It is a sensitive, delicate and sometimes highly charged dialogue, but one that we are obligated to undertake, with the goal of improving the community. Fortunately, a large percentage of the private land that is undeveloped is owned by a handful of families who are committed to improving our community. QCBN
By Greg Mengarelli
Sometimes annexation is a tool in this process. Each annexation is evaluated individually and includes public input through various boards, commissions, and council meetings. If a private property owner comes forward with a development plan, we will strive to make sure the development is attractive, safe and as accessible to public use as possible, while still protecting the owner’s private property rights and providing an expedient, inclusive and timely review process.
We should strive to preserve what we love most about Prescott, while enhancing our community. Prescott will continue to prosper if we encourage development that preserves our natural resources and makes them accessible for generations to come.
Greg Mengarelli is mayor of the City of Prescott.