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Agua Caliente burned palm trees

Agua Caliente Park scheduled to

reopen on Nov. 28

PIMA COUNTY, November 10, 2022–Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation (NRPR) plans to reopen Roy P. Drachman-Agua Caliente Regional Park, 12325 E. Roger Road, on Nov. 28. The park has been closed since Sept. 28 following a lightning strike that set hundreds of palm trees on fire.

“We are pleased that crews have been able to work so efficiently and quickly,” said Vic Pereira, NRPR Director. “To be able to open during the holiday season is beyond expectations.”

Since the fire, NRPR has assessed the damage and completed cleanup efforts. A contracted arborist evaluated nearly 225 palm trees, 40 mesquite trees and other shrubs. Roughly 40 palm trees had to be removed due to safety concerns or because they were too charred to recover. Rather than discard the remains, NRPR plans to repurpose the palms for an erosion project at Bar V Ranch.  

The fire damaged other infrastructure at the park including, two interpretive signs, four picnic tables, two trash cans, a bike rack and several internal/external irrigation systems. NRPR plans to repair and replace damaged infrastructure in phases over the next calendar year.  The spring, stream and former grass area along the entrance road will remain fenced to public access while crews continue work on restoring fire damage. The remainder of the park will be open to the public to enjoy.

“It could have been a lot worse, and we are grateful that it wasn’t,” Pereira said. “Agua Caliente is a jewel in our park system, and we are ready to see it filled with visitors once again.”

NRPR in collaboration with Risk Management will provide a complete monetary estimate upon project completion. The reason that the total cost isn’t known right now is because restoration work will be ongoing and likely won’t be completed until sometime in 2023. Those who would like to make a monetary donation to help the restoration project, can do so via the Friends of Agua Caliente.

Fire Closes Park (September 28, 2022)
Wednesday September 28, 2022, Agua Caliente Park experienced a lightning strike in a grove of palm trees at the south end of the Park near the entrance drive. While Pima County Natural Resources Parks and Recreation (NRPR) evaluates the damage and cleans up the debris, the PARK WILL BE CLOSED. No re-opening date has been set. Stay tuned here or follow the Friends of Agua Caliente Park Facebook Page (link on right sidebar) for updates.
From Pima County NRPR Facebook Page:
Pima County conducted an inventory of burned trees at Roy P. Drachman Agua Caliente Natural Resources Park and found 225 palm trees and about 40 other trees had sustained burn damage in the September fire.
They are removing approximately 15-20% of these palms as they either represent a safety hazard or need to be removed in order to implement planned erosion control measures along the spring and stream. These palm tree poles will be repurposed for an erosion control project on Pima County’s Bar V Ranch. The remaining palms will be monitored for health through the spring.
There may be additional removal of palms should some not survive, to thin the stand which has overgrown through the years, and/or for future fire breaks.

 Agua Caliente Park is on the National
Register of Historic Places!!    

     On July 9, 2009, Agua Caliente Ranch Historic Landscape was entered into the National Register of Historic Places.  This is great news for the Park and should help preserve it for many generations to come.  The National Registry plaque is located to the right of the main entrance into the ranch house. 

Respect for Agua Caliente Park

Please respect the “off-limits” areas of Agua Caliente Park.  They are “off-limits” in order to protect the delicate nature of our natural water source and the beauty of the Park.  Off-limits areas include: The area where the spring comes out of the ground; the west side of Pond One; and several other “open” areas that provide shelter for our abundant wildlife.  If you see someone in those areas, please ask them to respect the “off-limits” or advise one of the Agua Caliente Park employees.  We appreciate your support.

To Register for any Pima County Event

Many events listed on the Events Calendar require registration and fee to participate. Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation has an online registration system. The system will allow you to register for leisure classes, tours, bird walks, nature hikes, and other outdoor activities. You will need to create an account to use it. Online registration:  Pima County NRPR.  Program information: 520-724-5375 or email: eeducation[at]pima.gov.

Friends of Agua Caliente Board Meeting

November 14, 2022, 7 p.m. on Zoom

(email info[at]friendsofaguacaliente.org for additional information/link). 

To contact the Webmaster, send an email to info[at]FriendsOfAguaCaliente.Org (replace [at] with @).