Silly Mountain Interpretive Trail
New Silly Mountain Interpretive Trail Completed
By Barry Peebles, SALT Board Member
A new Interpretive Trail at Silly Mountain Park, built in partnership by Superstition Area Land Trust (SALT) and the Apache Junction Parks and Recreation Department, was completed in late March. The Interpretive Trail is a gradual 1/3 mile pathway laid out in a figure-8 design, paved with compacted crushed granite and lined with native Sonoran desert plants. The path can be walked easily by people of all ages and is wheel-chair accessible. The construction of the Trail had strong support and contributions from a number of businesses and organizations throughout the community.
The initial dream for the trail came from Don Wells, SALT Vice President. That dream was nurtured through a community input process and was transformed into a planting plan and detail design by Nick Blake, AJ Parks Superintendent and City Landscape Architect. A $35,000 foundation grant to SALT provided the primary funding for the project.
AJ Parks & Recreation did the clearing and compacting of the pathway, with assistance in the clearing effort from Tom McDonald of Smiling Dog Landscapes. The Parks and Rec Staff also installed the water lines and drip system. The grading and construction of the pathway were done by the SALT Trail Crew, under the direction of Don Wells and crew chief Al Lines.
Over 280 individual plants from 35 different species have been planted by the SALT Trail Crew with the assistance of Carol Parrott and her team from the Superstition Mountain Master Gardeners program at the University of Arizona Extension Bureau. The plants are all native to the greater Sonoran Desert, although a number of them are not common to the desert here in the East Valley. Plants new to this area include the Organ Pipe Cactus, Red Barrel Cactus, and Huachuca Agave. Boyce Thompson Hedgehog, a unique sub-species identified by and named for the Arboretum, also have been planted along the trail.
Many of the plants were donated by local firms and organizations, including Apache Landscaping, Shady Way Nursery, Smiling Dog Landscapes, and the Boyce Thompson Arboretum. The rock walls at the intersection of the figure-8 were built by George Martino from Siglo Landscaping. Tom McDonald of Smiling Dog Landscapes created several “water harvesting” demonstration areas.
Although signs identifying the various species remain to be installed, the pathway is open to the public on an informal basis. A dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for the early fall.