July 2007

Motorized Vehicle Restriction At Agua Fria Conservation Area In Force

MORRISTOWN , Ariz. – Effective July 1, in accordance with the Park Rule R-107 and 1995 Park Master Plan, the restrictions on motorized vehicle use at the Lake Pleasant Regional Park Agua Fria conservation area entrance are being enforced.

The conservation area is located at the north end of the park just south of Table Mesa Road . The decision to enforce the park rule was made by the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department and Bureau of Reclamation to ensure public safety and to protect the conservation area.

“This decision was not made lightly,” stated R.J. Cardin, assistant director for Maricopa County 's Parks and Recreation Department.

“Over the past four years, we've seen an increase in illegal activity in the area. Illegal activities have ranged from shooting to dumping and irresponsible use of off-highway vehicles to vandalism. These activities are causing damage to the desert and riparian areas and have created an unsafe environment for law-abiding visitors who are there to enjoy the natural beauty of the area. 

“This is very concerning to all the agencies who manage the public lands in the area, and we've agreed that the motorized vehicle restriction needs to be enforced to protect both the public and the conservation area,” added Cardin.

A multi-agency task force, initiated by the Bureau of Reclamation, has been meeting to determine the best short- and long-term solutions for the area.  Until a long-term solution is developed, p ark visitors may continue to fish, hike, bike, picnic, and camp in the conservation area.

However, all supplies must be carried into the site without the use of motorized vehicles.

Anyone who witnesses any illegal activity at the Agua Fria conservation area should contact the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office at (602) 876-1011. Future developments on the conservation area will be made available to the public.

Lake Pleasant Regional Park is located at 41835 N. Castle Hot Springs Rd. in Morristown . For information on the conservation area, visit www.maricopa.gov/parks/lake_pleasant/agua_fria .