McDowell Sonoran Preserve
The Gateway Access Area was dedicated in May 2009. The Gateway is located east of Thompson Peak Parkway, one-half mile north of Bell Road (view map). This Access Area is the largest and most significant entry point to the Preserve. The facility has 200 parking spaces, restrooms, shade ramadas, a dog comfort station, water fountains, and an equestrian staging area with 16 trailer parking spaces, water troughs, hitching rails, and a shade ramada. The Gateway is also the site of the planned Desert Discovery Center.
The Gateway is designed to have a minimal impact on the fragile desert environment. Green building elements incorporated in the facility include solar power generation, rainwater harvesting, solar water heating, rammed earth walls constructed of native soil from on-site excavation, structural steel made of high recycled content, highly efficient mechanical equipment, native landscaping, and parking lot and path surfaces made of stabilized decomposed granite.
A joint committee of the Tourism Development Commission and the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Commission has been appointed to manage Phase 2 planning to establish a Desert Discovery Center (DDC) at the Gateway to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. The discovery center is envisioned to provide opportunities for residents and visitors to discover the story of the Upper Sonoran Desert. Through exhibits and environmental experiences presented in a natural setting, the center will inspire learning about the desert through its programs designed to encourage preservation and instill a sense of harmony with and respect for the desert environment in which we live.
Planning was completed by a team comprised of ConsultEcon, Inc. and Exhibit Design Associates, who were hired to develop concepts for the DDC through a public involvement process.
View the Report (PDF/16MB/205pp) The report is a big file and may take time to download.
Planning will focus on concept refinements, conducting a statistically significant target market survey to determine the character and content of the DDC preferred by residents, visitors and business interests and identifying preliminary building configuration and design opportunities. A preliminary business plan will be prepared based on the results of these tasks.
"Preserve Connections" Hiking Tours
In partnership with the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy the City of Scottsdale is offering for the fourth year, Preserve Connections , a seasonal hiking program offered to Scottsdale residents who may not have direct access to visit, experience and learn more about the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.
Certified Conservancy Stewards will lead pre-registered participants on hikes that highlight Sonoran Desert flora and fauna.
Participants must sign liability waivers.Hikers must:
Wear sturdy, covered shoes/boots and hats (sunglasses suggested).
Bring at least 2 quarts of water per hiker, sunscreen and energy snacks.
No strollers; children must either walk or be carried.
No pets except for certified assistance animals.
Registration will be limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
For more information, call (480) 312-3111.
Hikes are led by experienced McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Stewards who are expert in desert subjects. Frequent stops will be made to admire and discuss surroundings. Questions are encouraged.
The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy (MSC) is a non-profit organization staffed almost entirely by volunteers. It advocates the land-conservation cause, conducts desert-education programs and helps maintain the city-owned McDowell Sonoran Preserve and state-trust-land areas that have been designated for preservation, but not yet acquired. To reach the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, call (480) 998-7971.