FLORENCE — The planned 498-acre Peralta Regional Park east of Gold Canyon is closer to becoming a reality, with a lease from the federal government anticipated in November, the Pinal County Board of Supervisors was told Wednesday.
An environmental assessment of the project began in March, and a “finding of no significant impact” is expected any day, Kent Taylor, director of Pinal County Open Space and Trails, told the supervisors. The park, which will include camping, picnic areas, trails and a climbing area, is already 15% designed.
The county has estimated a cost of $3.8 million to implement Phase 1 of the park, $320,000 to implement Phase 2 and one-time start-up costs of $90,000. The county has $3.7 million in development impact fees that could be used for this purpose, “but it’s taken us since 2007 to collect that money,” Taylor said.
Supervisor Todd House, R-Apache Junction, predicted there will be demand. He said Lost Dutchman State Park has a 2½-year waiting list for a camping spot, and entry fees would offset the county’s costs. Taylor said the park is designed to take entry fees, “but it doesn’t have to.” Supervisor Anthony Smith, R-Maricopa, said his preference would be day use for free but overnight for a fee.
House asked if private entities have been contacted for help with startup costs. “Not in detail,” Taylor replied.
Taylor said the park has the potential to be popular. “It’s a primitive-setting park as close to metro Phoenix as anything else.”
The park is south of Superstition Wilderness and east of Gold Canyon.
Pinal County will also celebrate the grand opening of a 10.5-mile section of the Central Arizona Project National Recreation Trail, from the Pinal-Pima county line to Park Link Drive, on Nov. 2. The next section, 39.5 miles from Park Link Drive to Florence, will be more of a challenge as it must cross state land and will also have perhaps as much as 2 miles in the city of Coolidge. This section of trail is perhaps two to three years away, Taylor said.
Smith asked what uses are allowed on this trail. “Our term is ‘multi-use non-motorized,’” Taylor replied. Smith asked if this includes equestrian, and Taylor replied yes. Taylor said the recreational trail component was planned for in the legislation creating the CAP, and the trail alignment, which will eventually connect Tucson to Nevada, also includes the Sun Corridor Trail.