Open Space News
Verde Valley Land Preservation news August 2015
The Cliffrose Trailhead, off of Mingus Avenue in Cottonwood, connects to a popular loop trail with superb long views. Coconino National Forest ranger Francesca Adrian, Bob Rothrock, VVLP president and Bob Richards, Verde Valley Cyclists Coalition walked this trail to assess the feasibility of adding another existing social trail to the forest system. This trail would connect the Cliffrose Trail to the Bill Ensign Trail and from there users could access the Dead Horse Ranch State Park trail system. Ranger Adrian believes there is merit in this idea and Supervisor Chip Davis has added his support. We will continue to assist the Forest whenever we can to complete the steps necessary for this trail to be built.
The Metempyrion Foundation has made a significant donation to VVLP that they would like us to use for community education. Their website states, "Metempyrion educates about human and environmental conditions that exist in the world at large to stimulate supportive participation in good works."
Verde Valley Forum
The Verde Valley Forum is back! Sedona and Verde Valley Forums have allowed community leaders from all over the V.V. to address regional issues. These forums have led to implemented solutions in a number of important areas. In fact, the 2002 Forum on regional open space planning led to the creation of Verde Valley Land Preservation. For more info, including information on 2016's forum, go to vvforum.org
Collaboration with American Rivers
At our July board meeting, board members heard a presentation from American Rivers about a partnership opportunity to begin creating a regional land use management program that connects land use decision making with water management decision making. This joint program between the two organizations would focus on developing best practices and demonstration projects for sustainable land use that reduces the impact of development's footprint on our groundwater and surface water resources that sustain the Verde River.
The core activities of the program would involve integrating land use planning and water management in the Verde Valley, outreach to state and federal land management agencies, advocacy for open space and ecologically sensitive lands that support the Verde watershed, community engagement, and - down the road - potentially, land and water transactions to advance the vision of VVLP and American Rivers.
The board voted to support exploring this partnership further, and to work with American Rivers on developing the program and potential funding sources.
Sedona Verde Valley Red Rock National Monument
Also at our July meeting the board agreed to support the concept of this far reaching proposal. Our mission - to preserve and enhance open space - could certainly be furthered by national monument designation. For example, monument status prohibits land trades within its area. The devil will be in the details. Board member Steve Estes has agreed to serve on the executive committee drafting the proposal. Hopefully, they'll find a way to give the devil his due while allowing the preservation of our land's unique and precious resources.
What We've Been Up To In 2014
Our work to preserve and enhance open space has resulted in an open space forum, the development of the Cliffrose Trailhead, the preservation of a 35 acre riparian habitat, and inclusion of important preservation language in three Verde Valley municpalities' General Plans. Work in those General Plans has resulted in the inclusion of strong water conservation language.
The celebrated "A River Runs Thru Us" project involved choosing and placing 25 artists on a 3-day, 2- night guided kayaking experience on the Verde River. From that experience, they generated original works of art and donated them to VVLP. The works traveled in an exhibition with extended stops in Cottonwood, Camp Verde, Clarkdale, Sedona, Phoenix, and Prescott. The vast majority of the works were sold at auction in May. Six are still available and can be seen at our website and the Cottonwood Library. The story, however, does not end there. So inspiring and beautiful were these pieces, that the same group of artists was invited to have their river inspired works exhibited as a project of VVLP in the art museum in Terminal 2 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The exhibit has been extended through January 11, 2015, so make sure your holidays traveling friends and family take it in! Also, see a recent New Times article about the art museum in which our exhibit is noted.
Drafting on the momentum of "A River Runs Thru Us", VVLP undertook a similar project that engaged policymakers and other community leaders. Dubbed "Leaders on the River" the event occurred April 5th and 6th. Sedona Adventures guided and catered the entire event. 28 elected and other community leaders kayaked and camped and 40-plus attended the presentation and campfire discussion. Professor Robert Glennon's (www.rglennon.com) reputation turned out to be a great draw. True to our planning conversations, Professor Glennon brought his insight and capacity to inspire a stimulating discussion around the campfire that continued hours after formalities adjourned. We heard elected officials from all the Verde Valley municipalities as well as the communities of West Yavapai County. Other community leaders from agencies and non-profits also participated. A follow-up forum with the purpose of stimulating policy continuity across the jurisdictions in the Verde watershed occurred October 21, 2014.
One program, One for the Verde , will continue in anticipation of some continued grant support, with a part-time representative. This program involves private businesses in collecting (in most cases) opt-out donations from customers that accrue to a fund that support public-private projects that improve river and stream habitat, access, recreation sites, and natural interpretation. Over 30 businesses are involved and one project has already been funded.
Verde Valley Land Preservation will continue to act on opportunities to preserve and enhance our precious open spaces. Thank you for your interest.
"One for the Verde"Our new program, One for the Verde, has launched!
One for the Verde is local program that will enhance the Verde Valley by funding Verde River preservation, river access and open space primarily along the Verde River and Oak Creek.
Our projects help:
Restore water flows in the Verde River
Preserve riparian areas and habitats
Obtain conservation easements
Improve water quality in our watershed
Open scenic access to the river
Create Verde River Eco-Destination
Enhance the Verde Valley economy
Protect our open spaces and viewsheds
(Visit our supporting businesses)
How It Works
Funds for our projects are provided solely by the participating businesses collecting voluntary donations from their customers during normal transactions. Any projects seeking funding must complete a formal application and review by the Board of Participating Businesses.
Participation costs your business nothing.
You can enhance your image with ecotourists.
You will gain free press and advertising.
Give it a try - it's easy to sign up.
A Verde River Artist Challenge
Verde Valley Land Preservation challenges
visual artists to create an emotional connection between the public and the Verde River.
The Verde River is one of Arizona’s last free-flowing, designated ‘Wild & Scenic’ rivers.
It provides sustainable habitat for a large, unique, and biologically diverse wildlife population. The purpose for this exhibition is to increase awareness and raise funds for research and
education projects designed to promote the sustainability of the Verde River Corridor.
WALTON FAMILY FOUNDATION RENEWS GRANT
Verde Valley Land Preservation continues the ambitious project of restoring a healthy Verde River and its tributaries among other new initiatives to strengthen a healthy environment for the Verde Valley. There are five projects projected to support the goals of the Freshwater Initiative Strategy financially supported by The Walton Family Foundation. Steve Estes will continue in his successful role as our Community Outreach Director.
Community Outreach Director Reports
Steve Estes, VVLP's Outreach Director has accomplished many goals required in the Walton Family Foundation
Grant since beginning the task in November of 2010. Chief among them are the contacts with landowners along
the Verde Verde River and its tributaries to encourage preservation of open space and removal of noxious plant
species growing long the riverside. Five landowners have begun preservation work. This process is a long term
education and change does not occur without repeated opportunities.
Community Outreach Project Exceeds Goals
The Community Outreach Project, a joint undertaking of Verde Valley Land Preservation and the Friends of the Verde River Greenway, has filed its first major report with its funding entity, The Walton Family Foundation. Project director, Steve Estes, submitted the report detailing achievements related to the various expected outcomes (also called "deliverables").
Of the original landowners initially queried, two remain in communication with regard to taking action on their properties that would enhance open space. Additionally, one of those property owners has agreed to engage 9 owners of 12 neighboring properties in conversations regarding a multiple-property open space initiative.
1. The creation of a boater-floater river guide which will enhance sustainable recreation and conservation education . This project will document, design, and publish a Verde River Recreation Guide in print and in online versions. There presently exist two river guides. One between the Tuzigoot and Bridgeport bridges, and another between Beasley Flats at camp Verde and Sheep Bridge. The addition of this guide will connect the these otherwise disjointed stretches. The result is a system of river guides that covers the vast majority of the 36-mile Verde River Greenway, as well as the same for a good distance downstream.
2. The Yavapai County Sustainable Recreation Planning effort (referred to as the Verde Front) has identified Friends of Verde River Greenway as a convener to lead a strategy action team to address river and riparian recreation along the Verde River in the Verde Valley that looks to improve access and amenities for river related recreation.
The project now moves forward on achieving its second year's deliverables which include a minimum of 5 miles of riverside habitat improvement, 4 land owners taking action on their properties to enhance open space, progress toward or completion of the two sustainable recreation projects, and demonstrated progress in supporting policy initiatives that ensure open space in local and regional land us planning.
©2014 All Rights Reserved
Verde Valley Land Preservation