Monday, February 9, 2015

Residents Fight RV's, Dirt Bikes, Hunting In Their Backyard

The Town Of Oro Valley and residents of the Honeybee Ridge HOA successfully worked together in January to get permission from the federal government to install two gates on what is known as the WAPA (Western Area Power Administration) #180 trail. The trial runs from Rancho Vistoso Blvd to the state lands along the WAPA right of way (easement). The trail is used to maintain the power lines that run to Casa Grande.

The trail closely parallels a barb-wired fence along the back yards of resident of Alamo Canyon Drive (map on right).  It is designated by the Town Of Oro Valley as a walking trail. However, the town has no authority to insure that the trail is used in this manner because it is not the town's property.

According to Alamo Canyon Drive resident Sally Schunerman and others: "Honey Bee Development owns the land, and they and Lewis Management are responsible for maintaining the barricade and keeping trespassers out. They have completely failed to do so." (Source: Appearance Before PREC in January.)

Residents estimate that there are 500 users of the trail each week. It has been used than far more than a walking trail during the past year. That is because it us a "back door" to state lands, the boundary of which is less than a mile from their homes. There is a "legal" route to the state lands on Oracle north of Rancho Vistoso Blvd.

On this trail, at any time, one can find cars, recreational vehicles, hunters, guns, bow hunters, and, a few walkers. All, just a few feet from Honeybee Ridge homes.

The way this trail is being used has been of great concern to residents. Dust is constantly being kicked up creating health challenges. Open firearms are being brandished on the trail.

One resident, at a recent Oro Valley Parks and Recreation Board meeting, describe a situation in which a hunter stopped their RV on trail behind their property to hunt down a bobcat. The hunter simply left the RV running and went after the bobcat. The vehicle was parked just a few feet from the back of the property.

The installation of the gates is not quite a done deal but the help of the town should get this done. According to Misti Nowak, Oro Valley Town Communications Director: "Our Constituent Services Coordinator (Jessica) is now working on this project with the Honey Bee Ridge Estates HOA. The HOA is working on negotiations for a contractor to install the gate."

Once installed, the gates should deter the continuing hassle and dangers that rampant, illegal use of this trail has caused.

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