On a brilliantly sunny and warm Saturday morning, eight runners once again set forth for the majestic "Crack" of Wet Beaver Creek. I enjoyed running alongside Matt Ryan who brought me up to speed on Coconino County's efforts to preserve open space around Fort Tuthill. The County has submitted a petition to the State Land Commissioner, Maria Baier, to initiate the Arizona Preserve Initiative (API) process according to A.R.S. § 37-331, et. seq. for the acquisition of open space at Fort Tuthill. The County is asking Commissioner Baier to reclassify the state trust lands (approximately 220 acres) directly adjacent to Fort Tuthill County Park as suitable for conservation purposes under API Petition 35-116166. As part of this effort, I will be submitting a letter of support for this conservation designation.
Last Tuesday, the City of Flagstaff faced a similar situation over Picture Canyon. The State Lands commission heard the voices of many in support of designating Picture Canyon lands as suitable for conservation. City Hall chambers filled quickly and the overflow was put in the lobby with streaming video. NATRA's David McKee kicked off the meeting by highlighting the efforts by the city and its partners in restoring Picture Canyon. While there are no guarantees that the land can be secured, it is comforting to know there is plenty of local support for both causes.
Once we made our way to the "Crack", only after carefully threading a needle through a large hiking group and horse manure, we enjoyed the warm February sun. Warm as it was, no one was up for a swim, not even Susan or Sabrina. A slight breeze would have made the return rather uncomfortable.
As we basked at the "Crack's" edge, we noticed beautiful purple locoweed, and towering over us was a skyward shooting stalk of a mature agave. We mused about making some tequila, but since it would take a bit too long to ferment we thought it better to return to the Coffee Bean in Flagstaff. Thanks everyone for a great 8 miles!