Hikers, walkers and nature lovers soon will enjoy smoother, clearer trails in a desert preserve on the westside through financial and volunteer support from TEP.
Volunteer and professional crews are working on a trail restoration project at Sanctuary Cove, an 80-acre area that borders Saguaro National Park West near Marana. The trails are open to the public and offer a beautiful view of the Tucson valley.
TEP gave a $5,000 grant to the All Creeds Brotherhood, which owns the property, to upgrade paths and add a kiosk with a map to the entrance.
“Our mission is to keep the land protected for people to find peace and tranquility in nature. We’re all dedicated to that,” said Alison Boelts, Caretaker of Sanctuary Cove. “This grant will help us with our mission.”
A crew of TEP volunteers showed up for the first of two volunteer working days, on Feb. 8, to begin projects. Another session is scheduled March 1 from 9 a.m.-noon.
As part of the grant, Sanctuary Cove hired a consultant from Trails Inspire to develop a plan and guide volunteers through the process.
The upgrades come at a critical time for Sanctuary Cove.
In 2018, the trails were severely damaged by a monsoon. The erosion formed additional paths off the existing trail, creating unsafe conditions for hikers.
Volunteers will close off some trails and redirect others to help hikers find them more readily. “It’s all done for sustainability and the safety of our hikers,” Boelts said.
The upgrades are particularly critical before more residents move closer to the preserve, potentially causing more harm if trails remained poorly marked. A new housing development is planned at the Lazy K Bar Ranch nearby.
Run by a non-denominational, non-profit corporation, Sanctuary Cove operates on funds from events and wedding rentals, cottage rentals and donations. An Easter sunrise service is held annually.
“Our expenses are not high, but we are completely reliant on the good will of supporters like the folks who come and leave donations and generous corporate supporters, like TEP,” Boelts said. “In order to keep this land preserved, we are grateful for every gift.”
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This story is part of our ongoing series highlighting one of TEP’s philanthropic focus areas – environmental stewardship. TEP works with non-profit partners to develop invitation-based donation requests for environmental efforts from April-June. Funds come from corporate resources, not customers’ rates. Learn more about donations.