Tucson, AZ –Saguaro National Park opposes the current proposal for a Bike Ranch development, on a 45 acre parcel across from the park’s Rincon Mountain District (east) entrance. The property is located in the Pima County Buffer Overlay Zone, which preserves and protects the open space characteristics within one mile of public preserves.
The park opposed the original plan presented to the Pima County Hearing Administrator in May, when the land owners proposed the Bike Ranch resort including 49 units, training facilities, retail space, and a restaurant. The plan now being proposed includes an additional 7 home sites on the western half of the property.
“Saguaro National Park is charged with ensuring the protection of natural and cultural resources, and providing quality visitor experiences for all visitors,” according to Darla Sidles, Superintendent of Saguaro National Park. “The park is concerned that the amount of development, density, and traffic of the proposed Bike Ranch is incompatible with the surrounding area’s rural residential character, however we are willing to work with the county, neighbors, and land owners to identify alternatives”.
Other park concerns include safety concerns due to traffic near the park entrance, impacts to wildlife corridors to and from the park, protection of dark night skies, and concerns that a new commercial use directly across from the park entrance would set a precedent for allowing additional commercial development adjacent to park boundaries elsewhere.
The park welcomes bicyclists and recreational cycling in and around Saguaro National Park. Infrastructure has been improved over the last few years to better serve the growing bicycling community, including adding the Hope Camp Trail as a multiple-use trail, building a ramada near the park entrance as a rest location for bicyclists, adding filling stations for reusable water bottles in the ramada, and adding safety features to the historic loop road to better handle bike traffic. Statistical data collected since 2012 shows that the park welcomes over 24,000 bicyclists annually into the park.
Superintendent Sidles added, “We understand and appreciate the concept of the Bike Ranch. At the same time, the National Park Service is mandated to ensure the protection of park resources and provide for a quality experience for all visitors”.
The current land owners are presenting their proposal to the Pima County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, November 18 at 9:00 am.