After five years of field work from botanist Sarah Hunkins and park ranger Kevin Smith, the flora project documented and cataloged about 390 plant species in the park.
RJ Cardin, director of Maricopa County Parks and Recreation, said Spur Cross has more plant diversity than any of the other nine parks in the system.
Out of those other parks, a 1970 study shows Lake Pleasant regional park to be the next diverse at 313 species.
Spur Cross is part of the upper Sonoran Desert in the northern part of Cave Creek with the Tonto National Forest as its northern boundary.
The elevation ranges from the bed of Cave Creek at 2,179 feet to the top of Elephant Mountain at 3,926 feet.
“The diversity is due to two main reasons — the riparian features and dramatic change in elevation,” Cardin said. “To put it into perspective, Spur Cross, which is about 2,200 acres, has more species than the White Tank Park, which is about 30,000 acres and our largest park.”
Smith said the document was published in Arizona State University’s botanical journal, “Canotia,” and has been sent out to herbarium libraries around the world.
He said at least one specimen was collected for each species, photos were taken, associated plants were noted, GPS coordinates noted, as well as other details. The complete collection of specimens is housed at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix with some duplicates at the University of Arizona Herbarium in Tucson, he said.
A presentation on the study will be presented during a Cave Creek Town Council meeting in January.
“This land has been set aside, in part, for protection of its natural resources, so knowledge of species occurrences is important,” Smith said.
Stacie Beute, Conservation Alliance Program coordinator with Desert Botanical Garden, said knowing what species exist is critical in managing the preserve in a number of areas, including funding, especially because there are very few conservation dollars available.
“Without baseline information, we may be able to say (Spur Cross) is different anecdotally, but we can’t quantify it,” she said. “We can’t properly manage what we don’t know exists.”
Spur Cross had long been a target for developers but also a point of pride for Cave Creek residents, who have put forth efforts to preserve the land since the 1990s.
In 2000, to preserve the land in perpetuity, voters overwhelmingly approved the town’s first and only property tax to acquire the land from two private entities — American Family Insurance and the Dreiseszuns, a local family, owning 70 and 30 percent, respectively.
The park is owned by the town, the state and Maricopa County. At the time of the acquisition, the three entities split the $21.3 million preserve three ways.
Mayor Vincent Francia said the county maintains and operates the park, funded by a half-percent sales tax.
In June 2012, the town wrote its final check for the conservation area that brought Cave Creek to about 50 percent open space, reflecting residents’ enduring spirit of land conservation.
Francia said the local property tax ended eight years sooner than expected due to robust construction-tax revenue and developmental impact fees collected from 2000 to 2007, before the recession.
“The flora report is an affirmation of why we fought so hard to preserve Spur Cross,” Francia said.
By Philip Haldiman The Republic | azcentral.com Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:52 AM
DECEMBER 15, 2013 BY MICHAEL ORR
The Cromford® Market Index drifted down from 106.7 to 96.9 which represents a significant change, but less than half the drop from 126.7 we saw the month before. In most (but not all) markets buyers now have the advantage in negotiations over sellers.
A complicating factor is that November had only 18 working days, 18% fewer than October’s 22. This means we are seeing unusually low numbers for monthly totals such as closed sales and foreclosures.
Here are the basic ARMLS numbers for December 1, 2013 relative to December 1, 2012 for all areas & types:
- Active Listings (excluding UCB): 24,043 versus 18,122 last year – up 32.7% – and up 3.1% from 23,330 last month
- Active Listings (including UCB): 26,817 versus 23,012 last year – up 16.5% – and up 2.7% compared with 26,123 last month
- Pending Listings: 5,965 versus 9,170 last year – down 35.0% – and down 1.4% from 6,047 last month
- Under Contract Listings (including Pending & UCB): 8,739 versus 14,060 last year – down 37.8% – and down 1.1% from 8,840 last month
- Monthly Sales: 5,175 versus 6,792 last year – down 23.8% – and down 15.9% from 6,152 last month
- Monthly Average Sales Price per Sq. Ft.: $123.28 versus $105.88 last year – up 16.4% – and down 0.9% from $124.34 last month
- Monthly Median Sales Price: $183,400 versus $155,000 last year – up 18.3% – and down 0.8% from $184,900 last month
Pending listing counts have stabilized, suggesting that we have already seen the worst of monthly sales volumes falling, especially as December has 21 working days, so will look rather good compared with November.
The average price per square foot is down a little compared with last month, but probably has some further to go before momentum runs out, because the the average $/SF for pending sales is still advancing. We still expect sales prices to stabilize in the area between $125 and $130 per square foot.
We continued to see a higher level of cancelled listings during November, but not worse than October which was the worst month since August 2011. Expired listings remain at a subdued level, well below average. List price reductions have been fewer in number for the last two weeks compared with the prior month. All these things suggest that the “soft spot” in the market is nearing an end. Supply is likely to fall for the rest of December, reversing the trend that has been in place for about 5 months.
Last month we advised watching the Cromford® Market Index to see if it would stop falling so fast and eventually turn round. It has stopped falling so fast, but has yet to turn around. We are therefore watching for a sustained increase followed by an increase in pending listing counts. If and when these signals occur we will know that the current cooling phase is over. If they do not occur soon then the current subdued market is likely to continue for some time.
The Cromford Report is owned and produced by Cromford Associates LLC, an Arizona limited liability company managed by Mike Orr and based in Mesa AZ. Mike holds a masters degree in Mathematics from the University of Oxford in England and spent 31 years in the computer industry, working for IBM, Amdahl, Splash Technology and the Santa Cruz Operation. In his most recent positions he was President of Tarantella and CEO of Mobilearia. He first started investing in real estate in 1976 and left the computer industry to focus on real estate in 2002.
10 a.m.-9 p.m. Gift market.
10 a.m.-3 p.m. Christmas music.
3-4 p.m. Kelso Brothers Quintet.
5-9 p.m. Holiday party with Sarah Birkett.
5-9 p.m. Carriage rides along Easy Street.
5-9 p.m. Strolling carolers presented by Desert Foothills Theater.
10 a.m.-9 p.m. Gift market.
10 a.m.-11 a.m. Adaptive Force Dance Studio.
11 a.m.-1 p.m. Medley of Theater Classics presented by Desert Foothills Theater.
11 a.m.-3 p.m. Kiddie train.
1-2 p.m. Mrs. Claus presented by the Desert Foothills Library.
2-3 p.m. Cactus Shadows High School choir.
3-4 p.m. Live nativity and choir presented by Desert Hills Presbyterian Church.
5-9 p.m. Holiday party with DJ Robin.
6 p.m. Electric Light Parade.
8 p.m. Fireworks and Granite Mountain Hotshot salute.
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Gift market.
9 a.m.-noon Pet parade.
11 a.m.-3 p.m. Kiddie train.
12:30-1:30 p.m. Adage Dance Company.
3-5 p.m. Affinity Dance Band.
For a complete schedule: carefreechristmasfestival.com.
Homes for sale in Carefree, shop like a Realtor: www.CarefreeProperty.com
Be A Part Of The Arts! Come to Cave Creek, Carefree and North Scottsdale to experience the most visible art event in the Desert Foothills. This is an extraordinary, dynamic, and FREE, self-guided tour of 46 studios and 168 working artists.
Held annually the weekends before and after Thanksgiving, the Sonoran Arts League presents Hidden in the Hills (HITH), the Valley’s largest six-day studio tour to art enthusiasts, patrons and serious collectors. The HITH involves touring studios of participating artists providing a unique opportunity to observe them at work. Visitors are welcome to participate in conversation and creative connection with nearly 200 artists, gleaning insight into the creative process, learning about the tools of the trade, and are able to purchase works directly from the artists. HITH is the League’s signature event that brings excitement, enrichment and artistic awareness that is essential to life and community.
Admission is FREE and studios are open to the public from 10:00am – 5:00pm Search for artists by name, medium or keywords – the full 2013 roster will be listed soon!
Have you hiked the mountain trails that are in Cave Creek AZ? The mountains that are to the west of Rancho Manana Golf Course are home to some wonderful, moderate trails…
Access the trails from the Car instructions below, or own a property that is adjacent to the Park, Like this Home
Would you like to shop the MLS for other homes in Cave Creek, then click here.
|Summary:||A Phoenix area park with 11 miles of trails open to hiking, mountain bikes and horses. The park also features camping facilities with showers ($18 per night) and horseback rides ($30 per hour) and ranger led activities. Click here for more specific park events.|
|Directions:||From Phoenix, drive north on I-17 to exit #223 and head east on the Carefree Highway. Drive about 7 miles then turn north on 32nd Street. Enter the Park at a self service fee station ($5 per car load per day).|
|Road Conditions:||Passenger Car – paved all the way|
|Navigation:||Easy – wide, well marked trails throughout|
|Length:||0 – 15 miles|
|Date Hiked:||December 2003|
|Weather Conditions:||Cool and sunny|
|Hike Description:||All hikes pass through vegetation typical of the Upper Sonoran Desert. Along the way you’ll see: saguaro cactus, cholla, prickly pear, palo verde, ironwood, brittle bush, jojoba, ocotillo and mesquite.
Go John Trail (4.7 mile loop): The longest loop in the park, the trail begins at the parking lot for the Go John Trailhead. The trail circumnavigates a prominent ridge, passing several abandoned mine sites along the way. There is one moderately steep, if short, hill which is found just north of the trailhead.
Overton Trail (2.1 mile loop): This hike may be started from either the Go John or Overton Trailheads. This hike forms a loop around another prominent hill in the park.
Clay Mine Trail (0.8 miles one way): This trail leads from a parking lot along Jasper Way along a ridge line to connect with the Overton Trail. Along the way it passes the Clay Mine, which you can walk into about 50 feet.
Slate Trail (1.6 miles one way): A mostly flat trail which leads from the horse stables at the Go John Trailhead to the park boundary. Seems to be mostly used by mountain bikes and horses.
Flume Trail (1.5 miles one way): Despite it’s rather exciting sounding name the Flume Trail just follows a dry wash southeast to an old rocky road. Also seems to be traveled mostly by mountain bikes and horses.
Jasper Trail (0.2 miles one way): Not much of a trail really. This short path provides a connection between the Go John and Slate Trails.
|Rating (1-5 stars):||Place to hike if you don’t have time to get away. Not sure if my experience was typical, but I only saw a few horses and mountain bikes on the hike. The author hiked all the trails in the park (since some were out and back this was about 15 miles) in about 5 hours.
Todd’s Desert hiking guide: http://www.toddshikingguide.com
The weather is still warm in Carefree and Cave Creek…and you are interested in getting out – out of the heat, out of the scorching sun, out in the cool, open air.
Thankfully, you don’t have to go far to find what you’re looking for. There are many gems within Arizona that are perfect for enjoying the outdoors without sweating in the triple digits.
Sedona – Cathedral Rock
The red rock of Sedona’s natural landscape is a must-see in Arizona. It’s an incredibly awe-inspiring and distinctive destination. In addition to the beauty, temperatures are a bit cooler than here in Phoenix, making it an even more attractive destination for hikers.
“I love hiking in Sedona,” says Scottsdale resident Susan West. “Not only is it breathtakingly beautiful and unique, but it’s the perfect place to combine a great workout with a great meal and glass of wine afterward.”
West considers Cathedral Rock one of her favorite hikes in the area.
“It’s pretty short, but it’s a scramble to the top over wacky red rocks, so it’s a great workout,” she says. “Because it’s steep, it gets traffic, but it’s not full of people. When you get to the top, you have an expansive view of Sedona and many of the iconic formations. Off the back, it’s a quiet view to green fields.
The Coconino National Forest website describes the hike as “more of a rock climb than a hike,” and says the trail is “unshaded and steep and difficult in places.” But West has discovered it to be doable by adults and kids alike.
“I know kids as young as three years old who have completed the hike, and older kids can definitely do it,” she says. “It’s short enough to be family-friendly but also fun for all ages.”
The Hiking Facts (from the Coconino National Forest website)
• Usage: heavy
• Best season: spring through fall
Flagstaff – Humphrey’s
Flagstaff is a very popular destination for Arizonans, and Humphrey’s Trail is one of the must-see hiking destinations in the area.
“It is my favorite hike in Arizona,” says Desert Ridge resident Catherine Chisholm. “But it is a challenge.”
What makes the hike so popular is that, at 12,633 feet, the summit of Humphrey’s Peak is the highest elevation in Arizona, showcasing distant views of the Grand Canyon and Oak Creek Canyon. What makes it a challenge is that the trail is steep, with a quick 3,333 foot elevation gain, and becomes very rocky at its higher reaches.
“The last part of the hike is above the treeline,” says Chisholm. “I have been with really fit people who started to feel the altitude in the last 30 minutes and have gotten dizzy. You don’t have to go all the way to the top, the beginning of the hike is in a densely forested area and a lot of hikers go up and back for an hour or so.”
The trail runs approximately 5 to 5.5 miles each way, so if you do plan on hiking the whole trail in a roundtrip day hike, start early and check the forecast.
“If you are going to go to the top, make sure the weather is going to be good – you wouldn’t want to get stuck in a thunderstorm up there,” says Chisholm. “Also, you’ll need plenty of food or water because it will take most of the day.”
Above the treeline, the only plants that can survive are small tundra shrubs and wildflowers that huddle for shelter among the rocks. Some are found nowhere else in the world. Past the tree line, you come to the top.
“It is amazing at the top,” says Chisholm. “It is the highest point in Arizona and you feel like you are above the clouds.”
The Hiking Facts (from the Coconino National Forest website)
• Usage: medium to heavy
• Best season: late spring through fall
• Difficulty: Strenuous
• Hiking Time: 3 hours (one way).
Fossil Creek is a true gem. The hike is beautiful and the rewards are great. At the bottom of the 1,600-foot-deep canyon are a series of springs that eject 20,000 gallons of water a minute.
Fossil Creek attracts all sorts of visitors: day hikers, campers, adults and kids alike. It really has something for everyone.
“My husband and I love Fossil Creek,” says Desert Ridge resident Jessica Warren. “We love camping and this is a much easier alternative to the Grand Canyon. It is so much fun to splash around in the water at the bottom of the canyon in the creek.”
The Coconino National Forest claims “over 30 million gallons of water are discharged each day at a constant 70 degrees,” making it a huge draw for those willing to hike all the way to the bottom. The route drops a little more than 1,300 feet over four miles down to the creek, making it an eight-mile roundtrip hike. Plan on camping overnight or going early.
“I recommend bringing plenty of water with you,” adds Warren. “It is still hot in the summer and the hike out is challenging, but it’s worth it. You get to experience desert landscape along with lots of rocks, trees and the amazing springs. It’s just a great place.”
Warren isn’t alone in her sentiment. In fact, Fossil Creek has increased so much in popularity that the trails are often shut down because of too much traffic. Before you make the trip, make sure the trails are open and accepting hikers. Coconino National Forest highly recommends hiking on a weekday if your schedule allows.
The Hiking Facts (from the Coconino National Forest website)
• Usage: heavy
• Best season: year round; summer can be warm
Wednesday 6.26.2013 @ 10:35am | Lynsi Freitag | Lifestyle
- See more at: http://imagesaz.com/blogs/viewBlog/1907/get-out-of-the-heat–hike-your-way-to-cooler-temperatures#sthash.zJ846XTI.dpuf
Arabian Farm Tours
11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Rae Dawn Arabians, 11249 E. Arabian Park Drive, Scottsdale.
2 to 4 p.m., Arabian Expressions, 9870 E. Jenan Drive, Scottsdale.
6 to 8 p.m., Pegasus Arabians, 12470 N. 93rd St., Scottsdale.
Noon to 2 p.m., Royal Arabians, 1660 N. Lindsay Road, Mesa.
For full details and information: arabhorsefarmtour.com.
Beauty is big, dark eyes, a dishy face, a high-arching neck and huge nostrils.
At least if you’re an Arabian-horse show judge.
Today through Tuesday, Scottsdale’s Arabian farms are inviting the public in for free tours to see the horses up close and learn about what makes them so special.
The tours are a primer for the annual Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show at WestWorld, considered the largest Arabian event in the world. The show will be held Feb. 14-24.
Owners will be hustling as clients from around the world take part in December sales of potential champions. But a portion of the farm owners are devoting their two-hour presentations to the 50 percent who attend the show but know nothing about Arabian horses.
Champion Scottsdale trainer Greg Knowles is devoting his entire Monday tour to explaining the history of the horse, what judges look for during shows, and buying Arabians as an investment.
“People want to know — what do you do with the Arabians?” said Knowles, owner of Arabian Expressions farm in Scottsdale. “This is a lifestyle for us, not a job. We’re up at midnight foaling, we’re out all day. I shut down the barn at 10 p.m. and when I go into the kitchen to drink a glass of water, I look out the window and count (horse) heads. Once you get bit by the bug, you get bit.”
During the tour, Knowles will share fun facts, such as Arabians having one less vertebrae in their back than other horses, or that all of them have black skin under different shades of hair — the skin being suited to their desert heritage. Visitors also will learn about judging — for example, that judges look for a high-tail carriage that waves like a flag to demonstrate charisma.
Knowles’ partner, who goes only by her first name, Riyan, said people can learn about training in which no expense or effort is spared.
It takes three to five months to ready the horses for competition.
“They’re athletes and they go through a lot to be 100 percent prepared,” she said.
They train on treadmills. They work out different muscles on different days with trotting and cantering exercises. This week, one of Arabian Expressions’ mares received her veterinary chiropractic treatment. It’s not uncommon for horses to receive equine acupuncture, Riyan said.
Many presenters at the farm tours, which can draw up to 500 people, also will address the myths about Arabians.
Knowles keeps 20 horses, ranging in worth from $35,000 to more than $250,000, and has rock musicians, professional athletes and Arab sheiks as clients — but Arabians are not only for the rich.
Like the real-estate market, now is the time to buy Arabians, he said. Spectacular horses can be purchased as family pets and recreational animals for a few thousand dollars.
Also, David Cains, a breeder who is offering tours at his Scottsdale Stonewall Farm Arabians on Sunday, said people are surprised to learn Arabians are not standoffish.
“They’re more like big dogs,” he said. “They come to the front of their stalls and they want to be petted and brushed and loved on.”
Also, while the breed receives a lot of ink for their distinct look, they’re not just pretty show horses.
Arabians make great endurance horses, competing in rides as long as 100 miles in a day.
To shop homes and land in Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Carefree www.CarefreeProperty.com
This weekend, Carefree refashions its cozy town center into the image of those miniature Christmas villages: snow, sparkling lights and vintage touches. The fifth annual Carefree Christmas Festival starts Friday and runs through Sunday with an electric-light parade and fireworks Saturday evening.
Attendance has grown from a few thousand to an expected crowd of 30,000 this year, but organizers say the festival retains a quaint, open atmosphere. In addition to Saturday’s parade and fireworks, highlights include a Christmas food and gift market, 25 tons of snow and pictures with the big man at Santa’s Grotto. The town’s signature event — that comes together thanks to elected and town officials, merchants and longtime residents — has become a well-oiled machine in its first four years.
This year, veteran festivalgoers offer a few of their favorite things to take in. Electric-light parade, fireworks Illuminated floats, dancers and marching bands parade down Easy Street, the town’s main thoroughfare. More than 75 entries are expected. The parade begins at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Fireworks follow at 8.
Insider’s tips: Arrive as early as three hours before the parade starts, said Cave Creek resident Shari Flatt who has been to every festival. This year, she’s taking her grandchildren, ages 9 and 13. “Get there early and put your seats along the route,” Flatt said. She then suggests checking out the performances in the amphitheater and having an early dinner at Carefree’s English Tea Room, sure to be decked out in holiday style. In addition, Flatt gets into the giving spirit by recommending the not-so-well-known parking lot east of the town’s famous sundial off of Cave Creek Road.
Carefree Christmas Gift Market More than 20 food vendors offer such holiday favorites as roasted chestnuts, hot cocoa and traditional comfort foods like hot dogs, kettle corn and tamales. As many as 110 gift-market vendors offer items, such as handmade lotion and soaps, hand-painted wine glasses and bottle corks, candles, jewelry and pottery. The market is open all three days, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Insider’s tips: Ron Welch, manager of Karsten’s Ace Hardware in Carefree, will be on site tending to any vendors’ needs and as such recommends shopping for the hard-to-shop friend and relative at the market. “You can get gifts there that you won’t be able to purchase at any department or big-box store.” He also suggests that families who have not yet taken their photo for their Christmas cards take it at the festival. “The whole town is lit up and decorated,” he said. In particular, cactuses in the Carefree Desert Gardens in the heart of downtown are adorned with twinkling lights.
Kidzone Children can visit Santa’s “official desert home,” the grotto, next to Carefree’s amphitheater. Santa’s hours are: 4-9 p.m. Friday; noon-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Saturday; and 2-5 p.m. Sunday. Nearby, bouncy houses, 25 tons of snow and an icy slide provide children with frigid fun from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Insider’s tips: Cave Creek resident Elaine Kinert, mother of four children ages 10 to 15, said it may be shorts and flip-flop weather, except on the snow hill. “It’s cold,” she said. “If you’re taking small children know that it’s chilly and damp. They need warm clothes.” Kinert added that although every year the festival adds more festivities to the roster, the town remains compact. This makes it ideal for the small ones or older ones whose mobility is compromised after long treks. “Everything you need to see is in this compact little area,” she said. More activities Horse-drawn carriage rides.
A North Pole mailbox. Story time with Mrs. Claus, 1-2 p.m. Saturday in the town’s amphitheater. Holiday music and dance performances all three days in the amphitheater. The Kiddie Train rides from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Holiday Pet Parade — pets don their holiday best and parade around from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday amid a doggie market. Santa will pose for photos with your pet. The pet parade starts at 10 a.m.
Dreaming of a home in sunny Arizona? Shop here: www.CarefreeProperty.com