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Glendale, AZ

Parks & Recreation
Engaging residents and visitors in diverse opportunities to live, invest and play in the community

Parks & Recreation
5970 W. Brown St.
Glendale AZ  85302
623-930-2820

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Glendale Parks and Recreation is Nationally Accredited.
CAPRA provides quality assurance and quality improvement of accredited park and recreation agencies throughout the United States. CAPRA is the only national accreditation of park and recreation agencies, and is a valuable measure of an agency’s overall quality of operation, management, and service to the community.
 
Parks and Recreation -
Thunderbird Conservation Park Preliminary Master Plan

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Updated February 2006

The following Frequently Asked Questions are provided to include new questions and clarifications to those previously  posted.

  1. How can I become involved and influence the design development process?
    This process of design development is done through the public input process through public meetings and forums, website information at http://www.glendaleaz.com/parksandrecreation/ProjectsandMeetings-ThunderbirdParkPlan.cfm.  Interested residents may contact Parks and Recreation Department staff, Roger Boyer at 623-930-2639 to be notified of upcoming public meetings or provide input on the proposed plan; contact Parks and Recreation Commission members through the Parks and Recreation office at 623-930-2820; watch for agenda items in upcoming Parks and Recreation Commission meetings at http://www.glendaleaz.com/BoardsandCommissions/ParksandRecreationAdvisory.cfm

  2. What is the current use of Thunderbird Conservation Park by hikers, bikers, equestrians, large group events, and picnickers?
    On-site surveys of park users were held several different days and times of the week in September and October 2005.  Park users were asked to complete a short questionnaire on use of the park.  Results from the 751 participants are posted on the Parks and Recreation webpage under Thunderbird Conservation Park Master Plan. 

The reasons park users came to the park are as follows listed in order from highest responses to lowest response:

  • Hike
  • Jog/Run
  • Watch Wildlife
  • Mountain Bike
  • Picnic
  • Other
  • Trail Ride

To clarify previous responses to the question of picnic use, in 2004 approximately 100 reservations were received which can serve up to approximately 3,000 picnickers annually.  This is an estimate of the number of people served based on the 100 reservations received for group picnic facilities in the past year and the seating capacity of those facilities. Citizens are also welcome to use various picnic areas on a first- come, first-served basis.

A traffic study that was conducted by Bolduc, Smiley and Associates during one week in March 2004 indicated that an average of 750 vehicles entered the park’s 59th Avenue entrance only, Monday through Saturday. Per the traffic study, Sunday’s traffic count was 1,250 vehicles. 

  1. What would be the size and purpose of the proposed educational center?
    The size of the facility is yet to be determined based on the type of programming required to meet the community’s needs. The size and aesthetics of the facility would be determined through a design development process.

Potential programming or use could include the following:

  • An area where park users and visitors could come to view and interact with exhibits relating to the natural and cultural aspects of the park.
  • Communicating appreciation and conservation principles of the natural environment.
  • A ranger and/or contact station for security and emergency personnel.
  • A shaded outdoor interpretive classroom area.
  • Similar types of facilities are located at North Mountain Park and South Mountain Park in the City of Phoenix, and Pinnacle Peak Trail in the City of Scottsdale.
  1. How much parking is proposed for the park and how much area is needed for the proposed parking improvements? In addition to space proposed for parking, how much total space is proposed for new roads and medians?
    Approximately 650 spaces (existing and proposed) have been recommended in the Thunderbird Conservation Park Draft Preliminary Master Plan to address the demands of current and future users. Approximately 2.75 acres would be required. Parking spaces recommended, along with changes to the roadways within the park will be dependent upon the types of amenities included in the master plan.

  2. Why is the 100-year flood line used as a boundary of the wash corridor?
    The 100-year flood analysis is customary procedure regarding overall flood control systems as set forth by the Flood Control District of Maricopa County through standards set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  In the Hydrology/Hydraulics Analysis prepared for Logan Simpson Design by JE Fuller/Hydrology and Geomorphology, Inc., the model was modified to obtain the hydrology for the 2-year, 10-year, 50-year as well as the 100-year flood events.

  3. Is using the existing culvert under 59th Avenue as a crossing for hikers and bikers being considered? What other crossings are proposed or planned for 59th Avenue as part of the Plan?
    Yes. The use of culverts for safe hiking, bicycle and equestrian crossings of major arterial roadways has been successfully implemented throughout the Valley. This crossing would provide the trail crossing for bicyclists, hikers and equestrians on the south side of the park and more convenient access to the existing wildlife viewing blinds located on the north and west side of the sedimentation lake. The City is continuing to evaluate this proposed crossing with the appropriate staff and safety personnel.

    A land bridge is being designed as part of the 59th Avenue street improvement project.  The land bridge will allow bicyclists, hikers and equestrians to cross on a bridge that spans 59th Avenue at the point in the roadway where 59th Avenue merges with Pinnacle Peak Road.

  4. What are trail workers doing in Thunderbird Conser vation Park?
    These workers are not part of the ongoing Master Plan process but are there to do routine maintenance to existing trails. Through a request by the Glendale Parks and Recreation Department, Arizona State Parks has sent trained trail crews from the American Conservation Experience (ACE) to perform trail maintenance at Thunderbird Conservation Park.  ACE is a non-profit conservation corps providing trained, motivated, well-supervised crews.  The crews are made up of volunteers from all over the world and have worked on national projects including the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park. The ACE crew arrived at Thunderbird Conservation Park on Tuesday, Feb. 7, and will stay for 16 weeks or until the temperature becomes too warm to work. The crew will not construct any new trails, just perform maintenance on the current trails, improving them to national and state trail standards. Thunderbird Conservation Park has 17 miles of trails. Only short sections of the trails will be under repair at one time, allowing park users to enjoy the other many miles of trails.

December 2005

  1. What is a “Master Plan” and how will this plan benefit the City of Glendale?
    A Master Plan is a general, long-range planning tool that helps identify and prioritize a community’s needs for a specific area or site. The Thunderbird Conservation Park Master Plan will identify the community’s vision and priorities for future care and management of this natural resource.
  2. Is Thunderbird Park a conservation park or a regional park?
    It is both. The 1,185-acre park is designated as a conservation park serving a regional area. Conservation of the park maintains the diverse ecosystem of the park while restoring it from loss, damage or neglect through a plan for restoration and management of use. Regional refers to the area or number of residents the park is designated to serve.
  3. Will wildlife be affected under the proposed plan?
    The plan is designed to positively impact the wildlife. The Thunderbird Conservation Park Draft Preliminary Master Plan recommendations propose to increase the urban wildlife species currently residing in the park. This can be accomplished by making more plentiful the three basic requirements wildlife need in order to survive successfully in any environment which are food, shelter, and water.

    By rehabilitating the main wash corridor, re-vegetating degraded areas located alongside the existing picnic area west of 59th Avenue, planting of additional food sources such as mesquite beans, and establishing multiple sources of wildlife drinking water, the abundance of the urban wildlife species currently residing in the park could increase.
  4. What process to date has the City utilized to develop the ideas shown in the Thunderbird Conservation Park Draft Preliminary Master Plan?
    A public input process has been implemented. To date, five public meetings, two focus group meetings, one stakeholder meeting, and participation in a community-wide needs assessment have been conducted to understand the general public, stakeholder, and user group needs and desires for the types of activities and amenities Thunderbird Conservation Park should provide for the community as a whole. Additionally, seven different on-site user questionnaire sessions were held at various times of the day and different days of the week.

    The master planning process has included two major components that are identified below:
    Programming Phase:
    • Public/Community Input – consisting of public participation opportunities and a community needs assessment
    • Review of current approved city plans, studies, and guidelines (i.e. General Plan, Parks and Recreation Master Plan)
    • Current park and recreation standards (i.e. National, Regional (comparable community bench marking)
    • Park & Recreation Commission and Staff – opinions based on knowledge of user group needs and the park’s physical deficiencies as they relate to present and future maintenance, health, and safety issues.
    The Physical Planning Phase has been based on the specific opportunities and constraints of the park resources (i.e. physical, cultural, environmental, jurisdictional) such as the following;
    • Analysis of Existing Conditions (i.e. slopes, drainage, vegetation, wildlife, views, utilities)
    • Agency and/or Private Development Requirements (i.e. Corp of Engineers, Arrowhead Amenities)
    • Existing and Future Planned Land Use of the Service Area
    • Existing and Future Planned Infrastructure
    • Issues and Concerns of User Groups and Adjacent Land Owner
  5. What is the current use of Thunderbird Conservation Park by hikers, bikers, equestrians, large group events, and picnickers?
    On-site surveys of park users were held several different days and times of the week in September and October 2005.  Park users were asked to complete a short questionnaire on use of the park.  Results from the 751 participants are posted on the Parks and Recreation webpage under Thunderbird Conservation Park Master Plan. 

    The reasons park users came to the park are as follows listed in order from highest responses to lowest response:
    • Hike
    • Jog/Run
    • Watch Wildlife
    • Mountain Bike
    • Picnic
    • Other
    • Trail Ride

    To clarify previous responses to the question of picnic use, in 2004 approximately 100 reservations were received which can serve up to approximately 3,000 picnickers annually.  This is an estimate of the number of people served based on the 100 reservations received for group picnic facilities in the past year and the seating capacity of those facilities. Citizens are also welcome to use various picnic areas on a first- come, first-served basis.

    A traffic study that was conducted by Bolduc, Smiley and Associates during one week in March 2004 indicated that an average of 750 vehicles entered the park’s 59th Avenue entrance only, Monday through Saturday. Per the traffic study, Sunday’s traffic count was 1,250 vehicles.   

  6. What is the current use of the existing amphitheater?
    It is used as a staging area for high school cross-country meets held in the park and the annual Hike to Santa program also utilizes the existing amphitheater. Programming is not encouraged in this area due to limited parking and the detrimental environmental impact on the wash corridor.
  7. What types of park amenities are proposed in the area located off Pinnacle Peak Road and 55th Avenue?
    Trailhead parking, restrooms, shade and picnic ramadas, plant and wildlife interpretive areas, an outdoor youth experience area, interpretive and accessible trails, and an educational center.
  8. Where is the proposed outdoor education area to be located, and have other options been considered?
    The center is proposed to be located at the 55th Avenue and Pinnacle Peak area. Other locations in the park were considered including an area north of the existing group picnic area, west of the 59th Avenue area, and inside the 67th Avenue entrance. The area north of the existing group picnic area was too close to bordering homes and the area west of 59th Avenue was determined to be inappropriate due to the close proximity to the wash corridor. The 67th Avenue area was considered, but this area attracts the most equestrian users, and was determined not to be appropriate due to the risk of mixing young children and horses in the same area.
  9. What would be the size and purpose of the proposed educational center?
    The size of the facility is yet to be determined based on the type of programming required to meet the community’s needs. The size and aesthetics of the facility would be determined through a design development process. Potential programming or use could include the following:
    • An area where park users and visitors could come to view and interact with exhibits relating to the natural and cultural aspects of the park.
    • Communicating appreciation and conservation principles of the natural environment.
    • A ranger and/or contact station for security and emergency personnel.
    • A shaded outdoor interpretive classroom area.

    Similar types of facilities are located at North Mountain Park and South Mountain Park in the City of Phoenix, and Pinnacle Peak Trail in the City of Scottsdale.

  10. How can I become involved and influence the design development process?
    This process of design development is done through the public input process through public meetings and forums, website information at http://www.glendaleaz.com/parksandrecreation/ProjectsandMeetings-ThunderbirdParkPlan.cfm.  Interested residents may contact Parks and Recreation Department staff, Roger Boyer at 623-930-2639 to be notified of upcoming public meetings or provide input on the proposed plan; contact Parks and Recreation Commission members through the Parks and Recreation office at 623-930-2820; watch for agenda items in upcoming Parks and Recreation Commission meetings at http://www.glendaleaz.com/BoardsandCommissions/ParksandRecreationAdvisory.cfm
  11. What are the plans for prioritization and implementation of the various components of the plan?
    Prioritization will be based on public comments collected throughout the master planning process and future funding availability.
  12. Why are three separate trailheads proposed for the park along Pinnacle Peak Road?
    Three separate trailheads were identified to better distribute the trail usage in the eastern half of the park and minimize the high-volume, concentrated user impacts created by having only one access point. They would also provide better, convenient access for the trail system on this side of the park.
  13. Will there be opportunities for people with disabilities to use the park?
    Yes. All proposed park facilities and the new interpretive and accessible trails would be designed to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards and guidelines.
  14. What are accessible trails and where are they proposed to be located?
    Accessible trails accommodate persons in wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, canes and others who are physically challenged, but wish is enjoy an outdoor experience. These types of trails are constructed with smooth, firm walking surfaces without obstructions at less than a 5% grade.

    Approximately one mile of accessible trails are proposed for the 55th Avenue and Pinnacle Peak area and include interpretive signage and rest benches with shade.
  15. Are new trails proposed to be added to the current trail system?
    There are approximately 17 miles of designated multi-use trails currently within the park. The Thunderbird Conservation Park Draft Preliminary Master Plan is recommending an additional 6.5 miles of new trails. The majority of new trails are interpretive/accessible trails to provide access to new use areas and outdoor education areas. A new segment of multi-use trail proposed on the east side of the park would provide an additional trail loop opportunity for those visitors using the east half of the park.
  16. Are all the trails multi-use?
    Yes, the existing designated trails within the park are currently multi-use for hikers, mountain bicycles and equestrians. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the park’s multi-use trails. The proposed new trails indicated on the Thunderbird Conservation Park Draft Preliminary Master Plan are proposed to be multi-use with the exception of the new interpretive and accessible trails. For safety reasons, the interpretive and accessible trails will be designated for foot traffic and persons using mobility-aided devices such as motorized wheelchairs.
  17. Is a dedicated trailhead proposed that will access the trail off of 51st Avenue?
    The existing 51st Avenue bridle trail connection is a regional trail alignment through the City of Glendale that provides access to the New River corridor for hikers, bicyclists and equestrians. It is not proposed as a dedicated trailhead with parking and trailhead amenities.
  18. Are the parking conflicts between hikers, equestrians, and students being addressed at the 67th Avenue parking lot?
    Yes, currently a three-hour parking limit is posted and enforced and is also included in the Thunderbird Conservation Park Draft Preliminary Master Plan.
  19. How much parking is proposed for the park and how much area is needed for the proposed parking improvements? In addition to space proposed for parking, how much total space is proposed for new roads and medians?
    Approximately 650 spaces (existing and proposed) have been recommended in the Thunderbird Conservation Park Draft Preliminary Master Plan to address the demands of current and future users. Approximately 2.75 acres would be required. Parking spaces recommended, along with changes to the roadways within the park will be dependent upon the types of amenities included in the master plan.
  20. Why is the relocation of the existing park elements from the wash corridor being proposed? Why is the 100-year flood line used as a boundary of the wash corridor?
    Relocating the highest concentration of human activity such as the picnic areas, restrooms and parking away from the wash corridor, located just west of the 59th Avenue entrance, will allow for the rehabilitation of this primary wildlife corridor through the park and minimize erosion.

    The 100-year flood analysis is customary procedure regarding overall flood control systems as set forth by the Flood Control District of Maricopa County through standards set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  In the Hydrology/Hydraulics Analysis prepared for Logan Simpson Design by JE Fuller/Hydrology and Geomorphology, Inc., the model was modified to obtain the hydrology for the 2-year, 10-year, 50-year as well as the 100-year flood events.
  21. What type of additional lighting is proposed for the park?
    Any lighting added to the park will be for security purposes only. Security lighting is typically used at parking areas, restrooms, picnic ramadas, and trail-street crossings.
  22. What type of signage is proposed to be added to the park?
    Recommendations for signage include improved directional mapping, definition of the trail system types, trail identification and improved trail mileage markers. In addition, the Thunderbird Conservation Park Draft Preliminary Master Plan recommends directional signage to identify the different areas of the park and interpretive signage for plants and wildlife within the park. New park regulation signs would also be included in the signage plan. Signage would be of a style and type that would compliment the desert environment.
  23. Are more restrooms proposed in the Plan and would existing restrooms improved?
    The Thunderbird Conservation Park Draft Preliminary Master Plan recommends that all 5 existing restroom buildings be taken out of service and replaced. In addition, two new restrooms are proposed at the Pinnacle Peak and 55th Avenue area. All seven restrooms would meet current Unified Building Codes (UBC), American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines, and have environmentally friendly restroom systems that meet the conservation principles of the park.
  24. Is using the existing culvert under 59th Avenue as a crossing for hikers and bikers being considered? What other crossings are proposed or planned for 59th Avenue as part of the Plan?
    Yes. The use of culverts for safe hiking, bicycle and equestrian crossings of major arterial roadways has been successfully implemented throughout the Valley. This crossing would provide the trail crossing for bicyclists, hikers and equestrians on the south side of the park and more convenient access to the existing wildlife viewing blinds located on the north and west side of the sedimentation lake. The City is continuing to evaluate this proposed crossing with the appropriate staff and safety personnel.

    A land bridge is being designed as part of the 59th Avenue street improvement project.  The land bridge will allow bicyclists, hikers and equestrians to cross on a bridge that spans 59th Avenue at the point in the roadway where 59th Avenue merges with Pinnacle Peak Road.
 

 

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