Bikers, hikers, equestrians help open
Anza Trail in GV
Sunday, December 8 2007
By Kathy Engle, Special to the Green Valley News
dawn-to-dusk operation, geared for walkers, their dogs, bicyclists
and equestrians who want to enjoy the multiple benefits of outdoor
exercise in a scenic setting on the historic Canoa Ranch.
About 50 people attended a dedication ceremony Friday to mark the
opening of the “Anza Multi-Use Path,” a segment of the Juan Bautista
de Anza National Historic Trail, which eventually will run from
Nogales to San Francisco.
The local segment runs 5.3 miles north from the trailhead on the
north side of Elephant Head Road just west of the Santa Cruz River
bridge. The northern access to the trail, which includes three
shade ramadas, a prepared surface for hikers, bikers and signage,
and a parking area off Elephant Head Road, is at the north end of
the east side frontage road at the Canoa Road exit, where the Canoa
Ranch headquarters is located.
Eqestrians are asked by Pima County, which owns the land, to ride on
the east side of the prepared trail because of concerns about safety
vehicles are allowed on the trail, which was constructed at a cost
of a little more than $1 million, utilizing Pima County Historic
Preservation bond funds and an Arizona Department of Transportation
Enhancement grant of approximately $500,000.
The trail is rural, with no facilities and no water. It is designed
to give walkers, cyclists and equestrians a feel for the countryside
the Anza expedition traversed,” according to a news release from
The Anza Trail commemorates the colonizing expedition of 1775-76
that left Tubac on Oct. 23, 1775, and arrived in what is now San
Francisco in March 1776.
The expedition was a huge one, involving 300 people, mostly
prospective colonists—men, women and children— a few soldiers, some
Indian guides and padres, more than 300 horses, dozens of mules and
about 600 beef cattle.
Once the expedition arrived in San Francisco, the colonists set
about building a fort and their own homes.
This was the first permanent European settlement in San Francisco
and founded the city of today.
“On this expedition, everyone walked or rode a horse. There were no
wheeled vehicles. They spent six months getting from Tubac to what
is now San Francisco,” said Roger Anyon, cultural resources program
manager, Pima County Cultural Resources and Historic Preservation
Office, who oversaw the project and spoke at the ribbon-cutting
The expedition passed its first night on the Canoa Ranch. There, a
woman died in childbirth, the expedition’s only fatality. Her baby
boy survived and went on to San Francisco.
Bicyclists ride on the new 5.3-mile
segment of the Anza Trail, which opened with a dedication and
ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday
The Canoa Ranch segment in Green Valley
was a long time coming to fruition, said Jim DiGiacomo, executive
director of the Green Valley Sahuarita Chamber of Commerce, who said
he and local volunteers spent 12 years working with the county on
plans for the trail. During that period, numerous public
hearings were conducted to solicit local advice and concerns, which
focused on access , illegal immigrants, maintenance and manure.
Steve Anderson, principal planner, Pima
County Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Department, said the
Canoa segment involved a “tremendous effort and obstacles, ” but
received strong support from the Pima County Board of Supervisors
“for preserving natural resources.
Three supervisors spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, which
includes six horseback riders, about 20 cyclists, and numerous
walkers who showed up early to try out the trail.
Democrat Richard Elias, who represents District 5 and chairs the
board, said the trail helps celebrate the Hispanic heritage of many
in the Santa Cruz Valley, including his own family. He said he
hoped the trail would provide an opportunity “for all of us to
recognize our past,” come together over the issue of illegal
immigration, and “share the wealth of the borderlands region.”
Supervisor Sharon Bronson, a Democrat who represents District 3,
characterized the Anza Trail as “an important trail in the West and
one which Pima County started working on in 1990. when Congress
designated it as a historic trail,” one of only five national
historic trails in the United States.” Eventually, the trail
will include about 12 miles in Green Valley, eight miles in
Sahuarita, some 70 miles in Pima County, and about 1,100 miles from
Nogales to San Francisco., she said. She challenged fellow
Supervisors Ray Carroll and Elias to join her in experiencing the
Anza Trail in Pima County on foot or on horseback,
Supervisor Carroll, a Republican who represents District 4, praised
county officials, especially Anderson and Anyon for their patience
on the project and urged audience members to get out and hike the
trail, noting that walking “has one of the highest rates of return
and the lowest dropout rate” among exercise programs.
Dog walkers at the event were represented by Judy Ramseyer of Green
Valley, with her “poodle plus” and Havanese dogs Barney and Cody.
Bill Adamson and Jim Jordan, co-chairs of the Santa Cruz Valley
Bicycle Advocates, represented cyclists at the event.
Horseback riders were Gus Amado Jr, and his wife Bobbi, Amanda
Borduin, Nadine Danton, Trish Toole an Nan Walden. Local
dignitaries at the ceremony included Richard Williams, president of
the Anza Trail Coalition of Arizona, Tom Ward, vice president, and
Joyce Finkelstein, executive director, Green Valley Coordinating
Council, and Sandra Stone, chair, Canoa Ranch Trust Oversight