Thursday Talks – Pinal County Open Space and Trails

Our talk this month was on the Open Space and Recreation in Pinal Country, presented by Celeste Andresen, Outreach Liaison for the Nature Conservancy for San Pedro River Project and Ranch Manager of the 7B Ranch located in the Lower San Pedro River region as well as an active member of the Pinal Partnership Open Space and Trails Committee.

Today there is a lot of undeveloped land in Pinal County, but that could change quickly as Pinal County continues to be one of the fastest developing counties in the United States. The State of Arizona predicts that Pinal County’s population will double by 2045. The AZ State Land Department (State Land Trust) owns 35% of the land in Pinal County.

At least 118 properties within Pinal County are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Pinal has four Hohokam archaeological districts and four historic districts. The county has a number of stunning mountains that provide natural springs, washes and drainage, unique wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities.

Celeste gave us an update on work being done in the county to provide more recreation areas and open space. The Zip Line that is being built outside of Oracle has been delayed but should open after the first of the year.

Recreation and Public Lands that some area residents may want to explore in Pinal County:

Arizona National Scenic trail can be accessed at Passages 12-16

White Mountain Area

Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness with Aravaipa River. Access to canyon is restricted to 25 people at a time; 14 miles from Turkey. Near Central AZ College

Picacho Peak State Park (Big Peak)

Superstition Foothills – No protection, a State Land Trust owned by the state but open to the highest bidder

Lower San Pedro River – Wildlife corridor

Tortolita Mountains – Part of the mountains has trails in Pinal County

Palo Verde Mountains – Vekol Wash, soon to have a regional park

Gila River near Winkleman

Sun Corridor – Casa Grande and Gold Canyon

Some areas require a pass to hike on those lands. To get a pass you must download the application and mail it in. Arizona State Land Department website:

To learn more about areas in the county to visit, go to

Get involved to make it happen.

SBR Thursday Talks – 2016 Schedule

January 21, Thursday, at 4:00 p.m. – Geology of the Area by Larry Richter

February 18, Thursday, at 4:00 p.m. – Senior Village at SaddleBrooke, a non-profit volunteer organization that helps residents age in their own home.

March 17, Thursday, at 4:00 p.m. – Rattlesnakes. Jay Smith returns to update us on one of our wildlife members.