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South Mountain Park/Preserve Improvements Recognized for Environmental ExcellenceSouth Mountain Park/Preserve Improvements Recognized for Environmental Excellence<div class="ExternalClassDBBFC10778A14EDAABB9A7F38EA58DCB"><p>​The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department's South Mountain Park/Preserve Trails Master Plan and Big Ramada Restoration Project received prestigious recognition at the 38th annual <a href="https://www.arizonaforward.org/" target="_blank">Arizona Forward</a> Environmental Excellence Awards Gala on Saturday, Oct. 6.</p><p>The <a href="/parks/southmtntrailplan">Trails Master Plan</a> earned the Crescordia Award in the category of Healthy Communities – Public Policy/Plans. The Crescordia Award is the highest honor given in each category. Approved by the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board in April 2017, the plan identifies 51 miles of existing designated trails to be protected or improved and adopts 38 miles of existing non-designated trails into the designated trail system. It also adds 11 miles of new trails for connectivity and identifies 80 miles of non-designated trails to be revegetated back to natural condition. The plan was developed through a robust public involvement process that brought together the diverse user groups of the park. Feedback was collected from those various groups through a website and traditional public and stakeholder meetings.</p><p>The Big Ramada Restoration Project earned an Award of Distinction in the category of Buildings and Structures – Civic and Historic Preservation. That project rehabilitated an historically significant structure that was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression. Completed in spring 2018, the project included restoring the ramada's stone piers and replacing the wooden roof with steel framing and trim. Improvements also included upgrades to accessibility and landscaping, and installation of energy-efficient LED lighting. Interpretive signage was installed to educate park visitors about the history of the structure and the natural desert environment around it.</p><p>Both projects are part of a <a href="/parks/southmtntrailplan">multi-year infrastructure improvement plan</a> for South Mountain Park/Preserve that started in 2017. It is funded by the voter-approved Phoenix Parks and Preserve Initiative (PPPI). The park turns 100 years old in 2024.<br></p><p>Since its inception in 1969 as Valley Forward and its statewide expansion 44 years later, <a href="https://www.arizonaforward.org/" target="_blank">Arizona Forward</a> has mobilized the state's business leaders and policy makers to leverage their collective power to influence how to best grow communities, stimulate the economy and enhance the environment. <br></p></div>10/8/2018 10:30:00 PMGregg Bach602-262-4994