Bureau of Land Management requests public input on proposed lease for Palo Verde regional park

Michelle Talsma Everson

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The BLM office in Phoenix. The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states.BLM

By Michelle Talsma Everson / NewsBreak Pinal County

The Bureau of Land Management’s Lower Sonoran Field Office is proposing to lease 497 acres of public land to Pinal County to create the Palo Verde Regional Park near Maricopa. The agency is seeking comments on a Recreation and Public Purposes (R&PP) Act application submitted by Pinal County for the proposal.

“This is an opportunity for the public to have a voice in land use options in their community,” said Phoenix District Manager Leon Thomas. “Public involvement can help shape experiences on public lands for all visitors to the area.”

Pinal County is one of the fastest-growing counties in the United States and there is an increasing need for recreational access on public lands for area residents. The county has identified the need for the park, which would include amenities such as hiking trails, picnic locations, camping sites, and parking spaces that would enhance and expand recreational experiences in the area.

“Public involvement can help the BLM make decisions on the public lands that we manage,” said Chris Wonderly, public affairs specialist for the BLM. “Input from the public can shape the use of public lands and recreational opportunities available to Pinal County residents and visitors.”

A Notice of Realty Action for the classification, segregation, and lease of public lands pursuant to the R&PP Act appears in the Federal Register. The public can submit comments concerning this project until May 16.

Interested parties may mail written comments to the Lower Sonoran Field Office, Attn: Ryan Randell, Realty Specialist, 21605 N. 7th Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona 85027, or fax to 623-580-5580. Before including any personal identifying information in a comment, be aware that this information may be made available to the public at any time, according to the BLM.

Additional information about this project is available for public review at the address above or online at the BLM National NEPA Register.

“The comment period for the proposed lease is open until May 16. After the comment period, the BLM will review comments received and issue a decision to approve or deny the proposed lease,” Wonderly explained. “If the lease is approved, then Pinal County could begin work on developing the park.”

“If the project is approved, development at the park could start within a few years following issuance of the R&PP lease and right of way grant​,” he added about the timeline for the project.

Information on the proposed lease and a call for comments was published in the Federal Register on March 30. The park plan of development and environmental assessment are available on the BLM National NEPA Register. Pinal County's website also has the Master Plan for Palo Verde Regional Park.

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