White Tank Mountain Conservancy Updates Advisory Board
Board Chairman Todd Hornback welcomed a group of 24 advisory board members and WTMC stewards to the annual White Tank Mountains Conservancy (WTMC) Advisory Board meeting on Monday, December 10, at the Verrado Grille.
RJ Cardin, director of Maricopa County Parks and Recreation reported that the 315 mile Maricopa Trail system which connects Maricopa County is now substantially completed. In addition, he pointed out that last year about 400,000 visitors enjoyed the White Tank Mountain Regional Park. Mayor Jackie Meck cited about 280,000 visitors at Skyline, affirming the health, recreation, and economic benefits of the park systems.
As the wildlife connectivity imitative continues to gain momentum, Mayor Meck asserted, “Animals first and then people” as the order of priority for development of the West Valley. The west side of the mountains is all desert, and a WTMC coalition is working with cities and developers to identify the corridors and plan around them to preserve the open space for wildlife migration.
WTMC Executive Director Les Meyers commented on the need for partner funders to potentially purchase land for corridors. This is “no minor economic impact project,” Meyers pointed out, “but together we can pull it off.”
Hornback cited Highland Park, CO, as having built communities with trail systems through them as opposed to golf courses. “These developments are ‘home runs’ for quality of life for both human beings and wildlife.”
Westmarc CEO Sintra Hoffman shared a publication, “Experience The West Valley: 15 Communities: One Voice,” which provides a broad overview of the state of the quality of life in the West Valley, including recreation.
Hornback presented the financial statement citing that WTMC has raised approximately $600,000 of its $1,000,000 goal. He indicated that a fundraising plan is the next priority for the board.
Conservancy team leaders Valerie Madarasz, Steve Rugh, Alice Neal, and Bob Hopper provided updates on program accomplishments and support activities. The publication of the White Tank Mountains Field Guideby Karen Krause with all proceeds going to the Conservancy topped the list. The team extended thanks to governing board member Bob Bement for facilitating a $6,600 grant from Arizona Public Service to cover the costs of printing.
Carol Sterling noted that stewards have volunteered 9,190 hours since the inception of the Conservancy. That equates to $220,560 in in-kind donations as established by the standard $24 per hour rate attributed to the value of volunteerism.
Click below to view photos of the meeting and holiday greeting