In Prescott, Arizona, we love our outdoor recreational activities! Mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking, trail running, kayaking, rock climbing… you name it, we love to do it! Not only do we love doing all those activities, but we have a plethora of places in our beautiful town in which to exercise these activities. Hundreds of trails, Thumb Butte recreational area, Prescott National Forest, Granite Mountain Recreational area, numerous lakes dispersed throughout Prescott, and the Granite Dells.
The Granite Dells are a well known recreational area in Prescott, Prescott Valley, and are a commodity with their dramatic boulder outcroppings, Peavine Trail, and amazing outdoor recreational use. Members in our community enjoy using them for kayaking, rock climbing, the numerous trails, bird watching, and more.
Currently, the 15,000 acre land that is the Granite Dells is owned by a company called Arizona Eco Development (or AED). AED has proposed to build homes on 2,500 acres of that 15,000 acres in the Granite Dells and surrounding area. As with any kind of development proposed on a beloved piece of land, the town of Prescott and a group called “Save The Dells” have stepped up to combat this proposed building plan in the heart of their beloved nature rich Dells. They hope to preserve the Granite Dells and its recreational uses, not have it be developed and therefore ruined. There is a lot of misconception out there about what the group Save The Dells actually wants, so here is a quote from their website to help clarify:
“AED owns over 15,000 acres. The 500 acres we are concerned with is only about 3% of their total land. According to their recently submitted development application, AED wants to annex about 2,500 acres of their property into the City in two separate annexations: ‘South Annexation’ and ‘North Annexation.’ It is imperative that these two annexations are processed and considered as one annexation and rezoning transaction. The City of Prescott Land Development Code already requires developers to dedicate 25% of their land for open space, so in total AED is required to dedicate a minimum of 620 acres to open space. We are asking that 500 of the 620 acres be where the public wants it, and that the open space allocation is contiguous functional open space, not simply cul-de-sacs and drainage ditches” (www.savethedells.org).
With that 500 acres, they also hope to contribute to the growing open space lands that could form the foundation to have a Granite Dells Regional Park. They do not seek to force the developers to hand over the land free of charge, rather to, as the quote says, have the open acreage be where the public and community want it.
“We recognize that protecting the Dells is the right choice for our economy, our quality of life, and our community identity. We are thinking BIG about what’s best for our town for generations to come. We can choose a future where treasured landscapes are spared from destruction.”
This is just one groups opinion, though it seems to be the general feel of the community here in Prescott. We shall have to wait and see what AED and developers decide.