Pace: Paradise Valley reinvigorates its mountain preservation trust

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Over 240 acres worth over $100 million dollars. Civic leaders of Paradise Valley have made important progress to preserve mountain views and open space that are integral to the residential and resort community.

Paradise Valley Councilwoman Julie Pace in action at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive. (File photo)

Since 1997, Paradise Valley had Mummy Mountain Trust, which focused on preserving land primarily in the higher elevations of Mummy Mountain. Now, the trust has a new name and a new logo.

The new name is Paradise Valley Mountain Preservation Trust (PVMPT), which reflects its mission of preserving the natural landscape, desert plants, wildlife and scenic beauty of Camelback Mountain, Mummy Mountain, and the Eastern extension of Phoenix’s North Mountain Preserve.

PVMPT Chairman Fred Pakis is proud of what the trust has accomplished to date as he explained, “during the past 20 years, the trust has preserved 240 acres to ensure that the land will remain in its natural condition.” He added, “The Trust is working to add more land to the Trust to continue this thoughtful legacy that will benefit generations to come.”

--- Julie Pace, Paradise Valley councilwoman

The achievements of the 501(c)3 trust are privately funded through donations of money, grants, stock, estate gifts, land and conservation easements. Residents have donated land and have created conservation easements to preserve forever the scenic beauty of key parcels.

Conservation easements are restrictions on the development of land that the landowner voluntarily creates and that apply to future owners to ensure that the land is not developed.

Donations are tax-deductible and can lead to eliminating paying annual property taxes in some cases. Unlike some other organizations, the plans of the Paradise Valley Trust are to preserve the land for its scenic and natural beauty. The PVMPT Trust is unique because land donated cannot be used for the development of hiking trails or other facilities for public use of the lands.

--- Julie Pace, Paradise Valley councilwoman

The trust has taken several important steps recently to advance its work. In addition to the donations of land and conservation easements, initiatives are underway to raise private funds and exchange properties to enable the Trust to acquire critical parcels of land to ensure that the beauty of the mountains remains for all to appreciate.

The well-known and respected artist Ed Mell, a Paradise Valley resident, is creating a sculpture to celebrate the donors of land on the mountains. The sculpture will be erected at the entrance to the Paradise Valley Town Hall. The names of donors will be added to the pedestal of the sculpture to commemorate the over one hundred million dollars of land donated to the trust.

PVMPT has planned a “First Time Ever” event on Oct. 9 to recognize the donors and their families who gave land for the stewardship by the trust. The event also will provide information to those who own property on the mountains about what it means to have a conservation easement added to the land surrounding their hillside homes.

A children’s book written by Pam Hait and her granddaughter about Camelback Mountain, illustrated by Sebastien Millon, is being published and will be available in gift shops in Paradise Valley’s resorts and at other locations in the Valley with proceeds benefitting the trust.

The foresight of community leaders who created the Mummy Mountain Trust in 1997 laid the foundation for the current preservation initiatives. Generous residents of Paradise Valley, PVMPT Trust Members, Mayor Bien-Willner and council members and town staff have banded together to expand and reinvigorate the Paradise Valley Mountain Preservation Trust to ensure that the natural beauty of the area remains for future residents and visitors to enjoy.

The website of the Paradise Valley Mountain Preservation Trust containing additional information is at www.pvmpt.org. Join us to support the legacy of the mountains.

Editor’s Note: Ms. Pace is a member of Paradise Valley Town Council

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