I am the ultimate concerned citizen about my state park because I live next door to her, she is my neighbor. When I heard she was going to get shut down I formed the first (to my knowledge) fundraiser in the park, a dog friendly hike called Get the Tails on the Trails. We raised hundreds of dollars for the park. I continued to support other efforts to save the park and I became a board member of the Friends of Lost Dutchman State Park in 2011 ( a few months after formation). Since then I’ve organized the highly successful Picture Perfect Park wine tasting event in the park with the help of the FLDSP board and members. Money raised through these events has increased park revenue significantly by providing new camping sites, vehicles, and many other things the park rangers need.
So, with an objective to draw people to the park 24 x 7 our solar trail was the first major project we proposed. It’s located on a 1 mile stretch of the existing Discovery Trail in the park. 10 features representing astronomical objects in our sky will be placed along that stretch. Each feature will inspire exploration and educate in an experiential way about our solar system. Some key FLDSP board members are taking this one on. With a background in landscape architecture, Steve Knauer lends his expertise and leadership on the design and construction of the project. Kim Grady’s background in education and technology skills can be seen in the feature design and any content created for our information graphs that are part of the trail.
We modeled the trail after the Caral Sagan Planet Walk in Ithaca NY, read about it here. These types of trails are built to scale. Given the length of the Discovery Trail that we will occupy, our scale is 1:5,000,000,000. That means the to-scale-size of the sun would be about that of a basketball, the to-scale-size of the Earth would be about that of a grain of sand. And poor Pluto, well, you probably couldn’t even see it’s little spec.
By the time we held the Fourth Annual Picture Perfect Park wine tasting, April 16th, 2016, we had a Licensed Landscape Architect on the board and he had submitted and gotten approved the plans for the trail. We were ready to go and were so happy to share the excitement with our guests at the wine tasting. We didn’t see the hurdles coming our way, but come they did, and finally after a meeting on September 27, 2016, we did a “restart” with a new set of park administrators and today, October 7, 2016, we think we have the new set of requirements and hurdles conquered. The delays have been disappointing but finally on June 5th, 2017, we broke ground!
Check out the signage for phase one of the project, the human sundial, it’s georgeous:
KEY PARTNERS AND CONTRACTORS
Smiling Dog Landscapes
Arizona Urban Woods (Tree surgeons extraordinare)
Artwork for the sign, provided by Kim Grady