A Vistoso Nature Preserve Could Become a Reality

July 2, 2020 – The Conservation Fund (TCF), a U.S. based environmental, non-profit organization founded in 1985,submitted a letter of intent to Romspen Investments to purchase the former 208-acre Vistoso Golf Course as a Nature Preserve and Community Trail. 

“This is great news and an important first step in preserving the former golf course,” said Michael Bilodeau, President of Preserve Vistoso.  “Our 1,300 members helped create this opportunity to save some of the last remaining areas of the Sonoran Desert in Oro Valley.  We will continue to need community support to make the Nature Preserve and Community Trail a reality.”  

In June, TCF (www.conservationfund.org) submitted the Letter of Intent to Romspen after a unanimous vote by the Oro Valley Town Council (7-0) directing the Town Manager to work with TCF to explore the purchase of the property.   

“The support of the Town Council certainly provided the opportunity to work with TCF to acquire the property, but this is just a first step,” Bilodeau said.  “We are eager to work with TCF to ensure that the former golf course is preserved in perpetuity as a public open space.”

TCF is accredited through the Land Trust Alliance which sets national standards for protecting natural places and working lands to ensure that conservation efforts are permanent.   TCF focuses on the intersection of conservation and community and believes that environmental protection and economic vitality are inseparable.  It has preserved eight million acres of land throughout the U.S., with almost a million acres preserved in Arizona. 

“Initially, we started primarily working with public agencies to acquire parks and key open spaces,” said Mike Ford, Nevada and Southwest Director, Conservation Acquisition.  “Over the past 30 years, our priorities have evolved with the aim of supporting our partners who need assistance with the ‘space in between’ such as working landscapes, ranches, community areas and forests that are vital for local habitat. This broad landscape allows us to continue fostering successful relationships with agencies, local stakeholders, business leaders, landowners, corporations, and others to meet our partner’s imminent needs.”

Since May, TCF  has been engaged in a partner-driven endeavor with the community, the Town of Oro Valley and other key individuals regarding the community’s desire to protect the beautiful features of the Vistoso Property,  including its wildlife, mountain views, petroglyphs and the six-mile community trail. 

TCF will negotiate directly with Romspen regarding the purchase of the property using ready capital from an internal “Revolving Fund” that provides initial funding for the purchase.  TCF’s revolving fund is used to acquire lands and assist with conservation.  If negotiations are successful and the property is purchased, TCF will ultimately transfer it to the Town of Oro Valley to be preserved in perpetuity as a public open space.  The Town also is investigating grants from Arizona State Parks and Trails to cover some of the acquisition costs.   

Preserve Vistoso will partner with TCF to replenish its acquisition funds.  More information on fundraising will be available from TCF and Preserve Vistoso in the upcoming weeks.   To stay up-to-date on our progress, please go to PreserveVistoso.org and click Join to be added to our contact list. For information on ways to give, please contact Kirste Kowalsky, Arizona Field Representative for The Conservation Fund, at kkowalsky@conservationfund.org.

Let your voice be heard.
Preserve Vistoso.