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A group of passionate Carefree residents has come together with the mission of preserving 48 acres of pristine Sonoran Desert for the community’s use and enjoyment.

Led by Wendy Mattes and Daniel Crespo-Dubie, the newly formed nonprofit organization Carefree Park aims to purchase a parcel of State Trust Land located across from SkyRanch Airport and transform it into a nature park for all to visit.

The Vision: An Accessible Community Park According to the Carefree Park website, the organization’s vision is to “acquire, preserve and make accessible” the 48-acre desert property situated between Stagecoach Pass and Cave Creek and Mule Train Roads. With rolling natural terrain and panoramic views, this landscape contains all the beauty of the Upper Sonoran Desert, including a variety of cacti, desert trees, and native wildlife.

Carefree Park’s goal is to preserve the natural state of the land while adding some basic enhancements, such as walking trails, benches, and potentially restrooms or ramadas down the line. This would allow residents to enjoy desert hikes, picnics, and quiet reflection within a protected natural space, promotes healthy recreation and an appreciation for the local environment.

The Process: Purchase and Development This desirable property, appraised at $6.9 million in 2021, is currently owned by the State Land Department with intentions to auction it off to the highest bidder. Carefree Park aims to acquire the land themselves before any outside developer can do so.

The lengthy application process is estimated to take 6-12 months and cost around $35,000. Carefree Park is focused on fundraising quickly and securing the winning bid at auction, ideally acquiring the land by October 2024. They are currently accepting donations and pledges to support purchase of the property.

Once acquired, Carefree Park will apply for grants through Arizona Parks & Trails to fund the development of park enhancements like trails, benches, restrooms and ramadas. This organization provides resources to assist with park planning and maintenance.

Introducing Carefree Park

Carefree Park will hold a public presentation this Saturday, October 21st at 3pm at the Sundial Center to introduce their vision to the community. Residents will have the opportunity to learn more about the organization’s mission, the property, and how they can get involved through volunteering or donating.

Founded just last November, Carefree Park already has 3 board members and approximately 75 active volunteers. But they need all the community support they can get to turn this goal into a reality.

Many Carefree citizens choose to live in the town because of its beautiful natural setting and atmosphere of tranquility. A survey revealed that preserving open space is the number one priority for most residents. This potential park would be an ideal way to maintain the character of the community while protecting the local environment.

Carefree Park encourages everyone who is able to attend Saturday’s event and get involved in this effort to save a beloved landscape for the enjoyment of all.

Cover photo courtesy of: Carefree Park

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