Magazine article Parks & Recreation

One of the Best in the West

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

One of the Best in the West

Article excerpt

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.

Arizona's boomtowns arc perhaps widely known as quiet slices of retirement bliss, but Scottsdale, a community of 219,000 just east of Phoenix and carrying the slogan "the West's most Western Town," is a recreation paradise that stands alone even in a region teeming with a myriad of leisure opportunities.

Originally a farming town, Scottsdale stretches 31 miles from north to south. Surrounded by the picturesque Sonoran Desert, it is an eminently livable city: Its average median temperature is 70 degrees, its average precipitation is seven inches per year and the sun shines brightly on 86% of Scottsdale's days. Combine this with a high standard of living, and it's easy to see why Scottsdale is the first-and to date, only-Arizona municipality with the distinction of achieving national accreditation from the Commission for Accreditation for Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA). The city's median age of 41 implies that the city must provide recreation programs targeting the entire spectrum of life in order to fulfill its mission-"To provide quality recreation, sports, youth and senior services and maintain safe, clean and attractive parks and city facilities which enhance and enrich Scottsdale and the quality of life for our citizens."

Scottsdale relies on more than just its high-quality facilities-a healthy dose of inventiveness, cooperation and forward vision is a must for any successful recreation provider and administrator, and Scottsdale fits the bill in various ways. For example, in 1990, a year after the addition of the extensive McDowell Sonoran Preserve to the city's park system, residents overwhelmingly voted in favor of directing funds from a sales-tax increase toward the Preserve's expansion and the guarantee that its 36,000 acres would remain protected. The Scottsdale City Council, city of Scottsdale staff, and the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Commission are working together with other jurisdictions, including the State Land Department, Mahcopa County, the Town of Fountain Hills, Scottsdale Community College and the McDowell Sonoran Land Trust to oversee and plan for the long-term stewardship of the Preserve.

Not surprisingly, outdoor sports and activities are regional favorites. The city of Scottsdale has an extensive trail system, with more than 170 miles out of the 360 on the city's General Plan already implemented; these trails are multi-user paths that hikers, bikers and equestrians can use for a quality recreational experience. Another local gem is Pinnacle Peak Park, an eminently popular InO-acrc tract. In 2002, a trail was completed in the park and already, more than 160,000 people have hiked its 1. …

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