On May 6, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approved a Use Management Agreement between the County and Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center (SWCC) to develop and maintain a nature and wildlife conservation center at McDowell Mountain Regional Park. The 21,099-acre park houses more than 50-miles of multi-use trails, contains spectacular views of the surrounding mountain ranges, and is home to a wide variety of wildlife.
In 2017, the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department began exploring the possibility of entering into a government or non-profit public-private partnership to develop and manage a native wildlife rescue conservation center at McDowell Mountain Regional Park. This piqued the interest of Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center who had outgrown its 10-acre facility located just north of the park.
“The Parks and Recreation Department often pursues recreational opportunities through the use of concessionaires to provide residents and visitors of Maricopa County a safe and meaningful outdoor experience,” said Supervisor Steve Chucri, District 2. “The park provides the perfect environment for a wildlife conservation center, and I’m thrilled with the educational opportunities this relationship will bring to those who visit.”
Through the partnership, Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center will have the ability to construct a shared-use facility with the park. The new facility will contain a conservation and veterinary area, wildlife rescue/rehabilitation and wildlife sanctuary, park nature center, and related office and administrative spaces on approximately 100-acres at the park. Development may be phased over a fifteen-year period.
The project will be funded through fundraising efforts by the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center. “My team is very excited to welcome the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center to the park, and we look forward to the partnership opportunities the center will bring. We don’t anticipate SWCC will break ground on the new facility for several years as they will be working on conceptual plans and fundraising for this important facility. Still, we look forward to the day when we’re all housed under one roof,” added RJ Cardin, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department Director.
To view a copy of the Use Management Agreement, visit bit.ly/SWCCUMA. Information about McDowell Mountain Regional Park can be found at www.maricopacountyparks.net/.