May 2008

Recreationists Get Temporary Vehicular Access To Agua Fria Conservation Area At Lake Pleasant

The Lake Pleasant Regional Park is allowing recreationists temporary, Friday- through-Sunday-only motorized access to a designated portion of the Agua Fria Conservation Area through May 18 via the former access point along Table Mesa Road just west of Interstate 17.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is working in conjunction with the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department on this temporary six-week effort to allow recreational access from Friday through Sunday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and to collect user data that will be used in the long-range planning efforts for this important conservation area.

Arizona Game and Fish Department officers will be on hand at the entry point on Table Mesa Road to help direct recreational users along a flagged route to the designated parking area adjacent to the lake. Wildlife officers will be collecting vital user data.

“We applaud Maricopa County for allowing recreationists this valuable interim access that is so important during the spring fishing season. We encourage anglers and other recreational users to please keep their vehicles on the designated road and parking areas,” said Pat Crouch, a field supervisor with the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Once the six-week period expires, the area will revert to being closed to motorized vehicles; however, the area will remain open to walk-in traffic.

The Agua Fria Conservation Area was closed to motorized travel in July of 2007 because of a range of illegal activities such as illegal dumping, indiscriminant shooting and irresponsible off-road use. Safety had become an issue, as well as resource damage.

Tons of illegal, unsightly garbage has been removed during several clean-up efforts since the motorized vehicle closure.

A portion of the Agua Fria Arm of the lake is closed to boater access from Dec. 15 to June 15 every year to accommodate nesting bald eagles. Once the eagle closure is lifted on June 15, anglers and other water recreationists will regain boating access to the Agua Fria via the waterway.

“We are confident we can arrive at equitable long-term solutions that will provide necessary and appropriate recreational access while also protecting and maintaining this valuable conservation area for present and future generations,” Crouch said.