Travois: I Encourage Scottsdale City Council to vote for the Desert EDGE

Source:  Editorial by Ken Travous; Scottsdaleindependent.com – November 7, 2017

I have been following the Desert Discovery Center saga for the past few years, and I don’t envy the situation now before the Scottsdale City Council. In one respect, I’ve been there myself. I was the director of Arizona State Parks during the purchase, study, planning, development, opening, and, for the first 10 years, operation of Kartchner Caverns State Park.

During the planning and development stages there were voices of difference on what should and, as importantly, what should not be done with the resource. A resource that was quickly designated as one of the top 10 caves in the world from a mineral diversity standpoint, not to mention that it was a “living cave,” a dripping wet cave just below the Arizona desert.All of the voices were valid. All envisioned a future for Kartchner Caverns that represented what they wanted Kartchner to be. All, indeed, wanted only what they thought best — from their standpoint. So it is with the Desert Discovery Center, now called Desert EDGE.

Various interests have expressed their views, and now Scottsdale City Council must decide the best use of the resource. The key question they must answer, I believe, is what positions the city into the future. Shall the Preserve remain as it is today, or should it become an environmental education showcase? I encourage them to vote for the Desert EDGE.

It is their decision. It is what we elected them to do and they have shown that they have taken the time to listen to the voices. To place the decision to a public vote skews the field to those who will only be satisfied with capitulation. Moreover, these are not “zero sum” circumstances. Those who want only to have their place to hike will still have it.

The discoverers of Kartchner, Randy Tufts and Gary Tennen, along with the Kartchner family realized they had something much more than just a pretty hole in the ground to entertain future visitors. They had a place to teach and inspire future decision makers. A place for visitors to understand their responsibility to study and unlock the hidden messages of their surroundings

Living on the desert edge requires us to prepare for the future. Desert EDGE is the perfect place to do just that. Frankly, you can’t do that without slowing the visitor down and engaging them in the contemplation a visitor center affords.Those of us who were primarily engaged in the development of Kartchner have witnessed the partnerships with The National Science Foundation, NASA, the U of A and a host of other scientific interests in furtherance of those goals.

We remain enthralled by the studies of microbes and their role in the formation of stalactites, the record of flora and fauna changes over eons, and the hydrological record contained there and their implications into the future.

We have not regretted our choices. Nor will the city council.

Editor’s note: Mr. Travous was the Arizona State Parks director for seven governors, both Democrat and Republican for the years 1986 through 1999. He is retired and lives in Scottsdale.

Environmental Study Ranks Arizona Second Lowest Among Western States

Source:  Joshua Bowling, The Republic/azcentral.com, October 18, 2017

It found Arizona’s access to public lands and responsible energy development need improvement.

Ty Gray Named Director of Arizona Game and Fish Department

Source:  Arizona Game and Fish Department Press Release,  June 12, 2017

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission has appointed Ty Gray as director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The appointment came in a unanimous 5-0 vote at the commission’s June 11 meeting. Gray, of Phoenix, has been with Game and Fish for 24 years and is currently the agency’s deputy director. He replaces outgoing Director Larry Voyles, who announced May 12 he would be retiring after a 43-year career with Game and Fish, the past nine as director. Gray will assume the role following a transition period.

“We’re thrilled to hire someone with Ty’s depth of experience and accomplishments,” said Commission Chairman Pat Madden. “He brings extensive experience in wildlife management, planning, budget, and executive-level administration and leadership, as well as the respect of colleagues and the public.”

1497257591321-lfo2lw0hbsn-54ca5c0ffb7d92af931a281183f76bf7Gray began his career with the department as a research biologist in 1993 and worked his way up
through the ranks. He has a unique familiarity and perspective on department issues and operations, having also served as urban fishing program specialist, a regional fish program specialist, human dimensions coordinator, field operations coordinator, fisheries branch chief, education branch chief, assistant director (Information/Education/Recreation Division), and deputy director, a position he has held since March 2013.

“This is truly a great honor,” said Gray. “The Arizona Game and Fish Department is recognized as one of the world’s leading wildlife management agencies, and I look forward to continuing our tradition of innovation and dedication to meet the conservation challenges and opportunities of the future.”

Gray will lead an agency that employs more than 600 people and is funded at more than $120 million per year, primarily from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, a federal excise tax on hunting and fishing gear, and several other sources such as the Heritage Fund (lottery proceeds), Wildlife Conservation Fund (tribal gaming revenue), watercraft licensing, OHV decals, and state wildlife grants. The agency does not receive Arizona general fund tax dollars.

“I have the utmost confidence in Ty and his ability to lead the agency into the future,” said outgoing Director Voyles. “I commend the commission for the fair and thorough process they used in interviewing, vetting, and making the challenging decision of selecting a new director from among four candidates of the highest caliber, each of whom has been a tremendous asset to this agency and to the people of Arizona.

“I congratulate Ty on being selected director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “We look forward to working closely with Director Gray to ensure the health, abundance and variety of Arizona’s wildlife.”

Gray holds a Bachelor of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife Resource Management from the University of Nebraska.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department director is appointed by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, a five-member citizen board that sets policy and has broad oversight of the department. The director serves as the department’s chief administrative officer and is responsible for the general supervision and control of all activities, functions and employees of the department.

Our View: Don’t Kill Arizona’s State Parks Board Now

Picacho Peak State Park