Tag Archives: McDowell Sonoran Preserve


Finalists Named for Cox Conserves Heroes Program

Cox Communications and The Trust for Public Land announced finalists for Arizona’s 2013 Cox Conserves Heroes program. A total of $15,000 will be donated to local environmental nonprofits on behalf of the winner and finalists.

By being a finalist, each individual has secured a $2,500 donation for his or her nonprofit of choice. The finalists are now competing for an additional $7,500 – bringing the total donation on behalf of the winner to $10,000. The winner will be chosen through an online public vote.

The public is being asked to vote now through August 12, 2013 at www.cox7.com/cox-conserves.

Arizona’s 2013 Cox Conserves Heroes finalists (environmental nonprofit of choice):
> Craig Anderson (Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center)
> Diana Hadley (Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace – Mission Garden)
> Brad Lancaster (Desert Harvesters and Green Infrastructure Planning)

Arizona’s 2013 Cox Conserves Hero will be announced in late August.

Melinda Gulick was named Arizona’s 2012 Cox Conserves Hero for her long-standing commitment to and passion for Arizona’s open space. By cultivating donors and working through complex financing models for the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, she built important awareness among both corporations and citizens.

Cox Conserves Heroes takes place in multiple Cox markets across the nation, has donated nearly $300,000 to local environmental nonprofits and recognized more than 100 volunteers.

For more information, visit CoxConservesHeroes.com.

McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Photo: Flickr, Dru Bloomfield - At Home in Scottsdale

Experience The Desert At Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve

The McDowell Sonoran Preserve is 21,400 acres of land located just outside of Fountain Hills. The Preserve is full of geological discoveries, desert wildlife and a large selection of plant species.

The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy was created to work with the City of Scottsdale in collecting data of the area. The Preserve is currently looking to add another 6,400 acres of state land to the north of the Preserve and then another 24,000 acres in 2013. Visitors to the park can expect to see a number of different landscapes from dry deserts to lush underbrush.

“The initial idea behind the Preserve started in the 1960s when Scottsdale development started to move north, and they were concerned that some of the mountains would be built on,” says Scott Hamilton, who works for the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy’s Preservation Division.

An environmentally sensitive land ordinance was then created, and in the 1990s, they worked at acquiring and setting land aside to protect it from being built on. In 1995, the first sales tax of .2 percent was approved in Scottsdale, and the money that was generated from the sales tax was used to buy land on the mountains. At first, the Preserve was not open to the public, but they created a second tax of .15 percent in 2005 that was used to purchase land as well as provide funding to create trailheads.

Hamilton says that the public is a strong part of the Preserve. “The Peserve was created by the public and continues to be shaped by the public as we go into the future,” he says.

Tom's Thumb Trailhead, McDowell Sonoran PreserveThe preservation planners work with contractors and volunteers to create and manage trails throughout the Preserve. Volunteers can work through the Conservancy to attend “new steward classes” where they can work in an area of their interest such as building trails, maintenance and construction.

The most recently renovated trail was Tom’s Thumb Trailhead, which opened on Oct. 18. The work for Tom’s Thumb Trailhead began three years ago when the planners worked with contractors and architects to design the structures at the beginning of the trail; they then began working on creating the trail.

Each of the trails throughout the preserve is rated depending on difficulty. There are volunteers who work to hand out maps of the trails, and they also provide visitors with trail recommendations depending on what type of hike they are looking tackle.

“The program is pretty innovative,” Hamilton says. “I get calls from other land managers in other states that are looking to do what we do here. We’re really lucky; it’s still perpetuated by the citizens through volunteers and tax votes. The citizens in Scottsdale are very active and willing to spend their money and their time.”

The preserve is open daily, starting 30 minutes before sunrise and closing 30 minutes before sunset. A list of the exact times can be found at scottsdaleaz.gov/preserve.

Tom’s Thumb Trailhead at McDowell Sonoran Preserve

23015 N. 128th St.
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
(480) 312-7013


Travaasa Experiential Resorts logo

Travaasa Experiential Resorts Named Resort Operator For New Hotel Resort In Scottsdale

Travaasa Experiential Resorts, one of the country’s finest resort brands that offers guests a high-end vacation experience by connecting them with the culture, food and nature of each location, has been announced as the resort operator and venture partner for the new hotel resort project to be located in Scottsdale’s McDowell Mountains. Travaasa has built hotels in Maui, Hawaii and Austin, Texas and was recently recognized by Condé Nast as having the best resort in Hawaii.

Travaasa now joins Crown Community Development, the owners of the nearby Golf Club Scottsdale and an affiliate of Henry Crown & Company based in Chicago, in a partnership for a 100-room resort and spa that will be nestled in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

“Scottsdale already has superb resort flags and properties,” says Hugh Smeed, Crown Community Development’s representative. “But this setting is unrivaled in the area. We are enthusiastic about partnering with Travaasa, a perfect fit for a perfect resort site.”

With expansive views of the Sonoran Desert and only a short walk away from the preserve’s brand new trailhead Tom’s Thumb, Crown Community Development hopes the location will allow guests to experience the natural beauty and harmony of the Sonoran Desert.

“This is a five-star, unique site,” Smeed says. “Views in every direction. A superb trailhead nearby. This is truly a perfect setting for a resort in a city that is recognized the country over for great restaurants, golf, resorts, weather, western lifestyle and special events. Now, we have secured an outstanding partner for this outstanding location.”

For more information about Travaasa Experiential Resorts and Crown Community Development, visit travaasa.com and crowncommunities.com, respectively.

architectural photography

Construction Begins on Final Villas at Sterling at Silverleaf

More than $7 million of real estate has sold at Sterling at Silverleaf since it re-launched in the market last November and now construction is underway of two of its final four remaining villas in phase one.

Starting at $1.36 million, Sterling at Silverleaf is a collection of 16 villas designed by the world-renowned architect Bing Hu and developed by Sterling Collection Development Group.

Construction of the two new models will be completed in March and sell-out is expected by the end of the year. Sterling Collection Development Group is beginning the planning stages of phase two.

“We’re proud of the success we’ve experienced over the past several months and we’ve been able to position ourselves on the leading edge of luxury development as the market begins to recover,” said Nathan Day, president of Sterling Collection Development Group. “It was a big risk to launch a luxury residential community in an economy that indicated the timing wasn’t right. But, for us, we wanted to get ahead of the market and we knew our product was unlike anything in the area. We priced the community aggressively. Buyers took notice of our value-driven approach and our rapid sales success proves it was the right decision.”

Sterling at Silverleaf provides unmatched value for buyers looking to purchase within the prestigious Silverleaf community.

The real estate market in Silverleaf has held strong over the past year, consistently maintaining a higher price-per-square-foot average on closed homes in the Valley. Buyer and builder confidence remains high in the area with 34 homes currently under construction in Silverleaf. Overall, home inventory is down in Silverleaf and prices are increasing. Within the past year, home site sales have increased by 22 percent in the area.

In March, Sterling at Silverleaf was awarded gold-level certification by the National Association of Homebuilders green building program, NAHBGreen. This makes Sterling at Silverleaf the first and only single-family, new construction project in Arizona to achieve this level, making the villas the greenest homes in Arizona. There are less than 400 communities nationwide that have received gold-level certification.

Sterling at Silverleaf features a timeless approach to Mediterranean design and a distinctive combination of Italian Renaissance and Spanish Revival architecture. Lush courtyards, mature landscaping and sweeping mountain and city views offer residents a respite in the high-desert, while providing convenient access to upscale shopping, dining and entertainment. All villas include Crestron home automation systems operated by iPads, Isokern full masonry fireplaces, Trane FreshEffects air filtration systems and Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances throughout.

Silverleaf is recognized as one of Arizona’s most sought-after residential communities, comprised of 2,000 acres nestled in the peaceful McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Home to the invitation-only Silverleaf Club, the club features a 50,000-square-foot rural Mediterranean-style clubhouse and spa, and an 18-hole golf course designed by PGA Champion Tom Weiskopf.

The Silverleaf Group of DMB Realty Network manages sales for the community and can be reached at (480) 502-6902. For more information on Sterling at Silverleaf, visit www.sterlingatsilverleaf.com.

McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Things To Do In Arizona: McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Hiking Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve: Beauty in your own backyard

Looking to spend the day amid the desert beauty? Or simply for some fresh air and exercise without venturing too far? Look no further than the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale.

Stretching across 17,000 acres of the McDowell Mountains, the preserve offers miles of hiking trails to be explored on foot, bicycle or horseback. Trails range from easy to strenuous and with several trailheads scattered across the preserve, chances are, if you live in Scottsdale, an entrance is no more than a few minutes’ drive away.

As you arrive at the base of one of your trails, it is truly awe-inspiring to look up and have your entire range of view filled by the many peaks and valleys of the impressive mountain range. The experience becomes no less impressive as you make your way into the heart of the mountains.

Unique and picturesque geology and plant life abound on each trail, and you’re likely to encounter all sorts of wildlife on your hike. Bring the dog along and treat Fido to a walk full of all the sights (and smells!) of the Sonoran Desert.

The layout of the various interconnected trails makes it easy to plan a quick loop back to your car, or to extend your hike from trail to trail as far as your feet care to take you.

Reaching altitudes of over 4,000 feet, there will be no shortage of breathtaking, scenic views on your hike, so be sure to bring a camera! The Taliesin Overlook on Lost Dog Wash trail is the perfect place to snap a panoramic shot of the East Valley.

With summer very much upon us, plan to hit the trails early to avoid triple-digit temperatures. As with any outdoor activity here in the Valley of the Sun, remember to pack plenty of water and sunscreen, and wear appropriate clothing to protect from damaging solar rays.

Above all, to make the most of your experience, keep your eyes and ears open as you pass through. From flora, to fauna, to scenic photo-ops, there’s a lot to appreciate about the magnificent McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

For more information about the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, visit mcdowellsonoran.org.