Desert blight: Without management, proposed park land has been abused

 Joe Hoover uses binoculars to read graffiti left at the peak of a nearby mountain. A pile of trash was left just off the road on land that would be included in the Palo Verde Regional Park./Katie Campbell/Dispatc
Joe Hoover uses binoculars to read graffiti left at the peak of a nearby mountain. A pile of trash was left just off the road on land that would be included in the Palo Verde Regional Park./Katie Campbell/Dispatc

Pinal County studying plans for how to use 23,000 acres

By Katie Campbell | Casa Grande Dispatch

Driving along the jagged mountains that could become part of Palo Verde Regional Park, acres of decades-old saguaro cacti stretch in every direction. A red-tailed hawk takes flight, plucking an unfortunate rodent from the dirt road. Wind whips across the land, virtually the only sound that taints the natural silence. The roughly 23,000 acres of proposed park space are largely pristine, but they also show signs of abuse.

Some of the saguaros have been used for target practice, suffering so many bullet wounds that their top halves now lie on the ground beside their bases. Piles of trash have been dumped at the base of mountains with peaks tagged by graffiti. A mattress sits in a ditch, a chair in the Vekol Wash, a destroyed TV beside a pile of shotgun shells.
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