November 9, 2004
In spite of the rapid growth in the south East Valley, members of a Queen Creek group are working to preserve the desert they have come to love.
Alden Rosbrook and 12 other families founded the San Tan Mountains Pride Association, known as San Tan Pride, in 1999. The nonprofit organization boasts more than 60 members that work to maintain the area’s quality of life.
Its annual community cleanup along Hunt Highway evolved into an event that attracts about 500 volunteers and clears more than 700 tons of refuse from neighborhoods and roadsides in ZIP code 85242.
The next community cleanup is scheduled for Feb. 5.
Affiliated with State Historical Preservation Office as well as Arizona Clean and Beautiful, the group is also helping Queen Creek public works officials find ways to generate more recycling in the town, Rosbrook said.
However, preserving and protecting San Tan Mountain Regional Park from dense development remains the group’s main mission. Members attend meetings with Pinal County officials to have input on planning and zoning.
"We’re not trying to stop building," Rosbrook said about the group’s efforts to keep limits on development density as they are.
Georgia Peterson, secretary and original member, said the group uses its influence to help the area develop "in a sensible way" by preserving the natural landscape and its wildlife.
"It’s not that we set out to be a lobbying group. The basic concern is the environment around the park," she said, noting that the group got fencing installed around the park.
The group has also branched out to other civic projects by sponsoring local youth activities and sports teams, and hosting nature walks and stargazing events.
Cheryl Davidson moved to the San Tan area six years ago and has volunteered with the group on several occasions. Davidson said the group has made a huge impact in keeping the area valuable.
"This is a group of people who really love where they are," she said. "Sometimes you take for granted what you’ve got. ‘Pride’ has encouraged people to enjoy and preserve what we have."
Check it out
The next San Tan Pride meeting will be 7 p.m. today at Queen Creek Town Hall, 22350 S. Ellsworth Road. Pinal County Planning Department officials will be on hand to talk about zoning issues and answer questions. To learn more about the group, including membership and the Feb. 5 cleanup, call (480) 987-3924.