Scottsdale acquired 2,365 acres of land for its McDowell Sonoran Preserve at a state land auction Tuesday. The city was the only bidder.

The city’s successful bid was $21.3M – about $8M of that will come from a Growing Smarter State Trust Land Acquisition Grant approved by the Arizona State Parks Board in September. The remainder of the purchase price will come from money generated by two dedicated sales taxes approved by Scottsdale voters in 1995 and 2004. The use of state grant funding frees additional dollars to be used on future purchases.

“Today marks another milestone in the creation of Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve,” said Mayor Jim Lane. “This rugged, scenic land in the heart of the McDowell Mountains will be protected for future generations to enjoy.

“The ability to acquire and preserve these lands is a testament to our community’s vision and our citizens’ willingness to safeguard Scottsdale’s beautiful and unique natural environment.”

With today’s acquisition, Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve encompasses roughly 30,200 contiguous acres – more than 47 square miles. That is about 89 percent of the long-range goal to preserve about 34,000 acres, nearly a third of the city’s land area.

Preserving these lands protects the main ridgeline of the McDowell Mountains and expands the land area of an important wildlife corridor connected to nearly three million acres of Tonto National Forest.

The preserve land acquired today includes the majority of ridgeline in the southern McDowell Mountains. It’s an area that features steep slopes, exposed bedrock, boulder outcrops and lush upper Sonoran Desert vegetation. The upper watersheds of Lost Dog, Quartz and Taliesin washes run through the land, which is also home to abundant wildlife.

The lands generally are located north of the Thunderbird Road alignment, south of the Bell Road alignment, east of the 120th Street alignment and west of the 136th Street alignment. It is within a “recommended study boundary” that includes all of the land targeted to be part of the preserve, permanently protecting the acreage from development.