The city of Apache Junction wants residents to help protect one of the most important natural resources of the community – open space.
A number of illegal activities are seen routinely in the public desert areas in the community. That includes theft of saguaro cactus, desert dumping, transient camping and use of off-highway vehicles.
Much of this open space is in the northern and eastern part of the city and is on federal or state public lands, which have strict guidelines to protect them for generations.
“The Parks and Recreation department has secured access for residents to walk, ride, and jog throughout the various trails on these federal and state lands,” said Liz Langenbach, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation department. “In exchange, we assist in the enforcement and clean-up efforts of the area. Unfortunately, these areas are very large and with our limited resources, particularly this year, we are asking our residents to help protect these precious areas for everyone.”
The city asks all residents and visitors to report any prohibited activity. Residents do not need to address suspected violators directly; but should call the parks department or mark and send GPS coordinates by email to the Parks office so Park Rangers can identify problem areas quickly.
In addition, the city will step up surveillance and is coordinating clean-up events in various areas but needs volunteers or donations of resources to execute those cleanups. Also, the city works with several groups to help maintain miles of fencing and access gates for horse crossovers. Please contact the Parks department if you can assist in this ongoing maintenance.
If residents see an emergency, please call 911. Other ways to contact us:
Apache Junction Park Rangers: (480) 474-5418
Parks and Recreation email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Police non-emergency number: (480) 982-8260
The city also plans to update signage and increase contact with the nearby residents and visitors to raise awareness of the issues.
“Like you, we want to keep our Sonoran desert a beautiful and safe place; now, and for the future,” Langenbach said. “We appreciate all the assistance we receive in this mission.”