Scottsdale resident Adam Rosenberg heads out to run the desert trails about twice a month. He said he’ll go at any time of day — predawn or even the middle of the afternoon. He’s just looking for an interesting place to run.
Rosenberg was one of dozens of nature enthusiasts and city officials who gathered Saturday morning at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve to dedicate the Lost Dog Wash Access Area at 124th Street north of Cactus Road.
It is one of 10 planned entrances to Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve and includes parking, picnic areas, shade ramadas, restrooms, an amphitheater and equestrian amenities.
Construction of a bridge and road improvements are expected to be completed by July.
Rosenberg has visited the preserve for the past two years. Before all of the development, he said he used to get lost without signs or markings.
“Now I keep a stash of maps with me to hand out to people,” he said. “I think it’s terrific.”
Meanwhile, plans for The Gateway, the premier access point to the preserve, are under way. Construction for The Gateway will begin in the fall and conclude in May 2007.
The Gateway will include a Desert Discovery Center, an educational area with an amphitheater and a cafe. It also will feature picnic areas, restrooms, equestrian amenities, a bus stop and trails for physically disabled hikers.
The McDowell Sonoran Preserve is an area of desert and mountains that the city has deemed open space for recreational and educational use. City officials and residents hope to eventually preserve about 36,000 acres of sustainable desert habitat. So far, about one-third of that land has been acquired through land auctions and donations.
In 2004, Scottsdale voters approved a 0.15 percent sales tax increase to help fund land acquisitions and construction of access points.
At the dedication, Scottsdale Mayor Mary Manross said the preserve is critical to a livable community.
“There have been naysayers in the past, and there still are, but we’re going to do it,” she said of acquiring more land for the preserve.