Rules, regulations and improvement plans for the 2,150-acre Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area in Cave Creek are set to be finalized three years after the town, Maricopa County and the state spent $21.3 million to purchase the land once planned for development.
The county Board of Supervisors is expected on Monday to approve a Spur Cross master plan, following unanimous votes for approval in recent weeks by the Cave Creek Town Council and the county parks commission.
The process took years because officials wanted to strike a careful balance between public use and protection of the area’s delicate Sonoran Desert riparian environs and archaeological sites, said Cave Creek Mayor Vincent Francia.
"We don’t want to have Spur Cross loved to death. We’re already getting as many as 300 people a day and that’s more than we anticipated,’’ he said.
Visitor numbers normally won’t be limited, but rangers can restrict horse riding and mountain biking when rain or other conditions make the terrain fragile.
Use will be limited to daylight hours.
No motor vehicles will be permitted. Some archaeological sites will be off-limits except by guided hikes.
There are plans for a trail system and a small natural history interpretive center when the budget permits, said county parks director William Scalzo.
A half-cent Cave Creek sales tax is providing more than $300,000 a year for Spur Cross maintenance and operations, but any excess revenue could go to capital improvements, Scalzo said.
Cave Creek is at work on an annexation plan to add as much as 2,500 acres to Spur Cross.