Natural Open Space – Not Just another Pretty Place

Most of us Sonoran Desert residents tend to admire trees and enjoy seeing and hearing running water. Our animal neighbors feel the same way (except for some lizards that run from even the slightest sprinkle from a hose).

Is Natural Open Space the Same Thing as Parks?

Natural Open Space is undeveloped land that is preserved in its natural state. It can include protected cultural resource areas and wildlife habitat; and can include passive recreation like hiking or bird-watching in some cases.

outdoor adventure arizona

Both natural open space and parks are valuable assets in a community that can increase recreation and tourism.

Natural Open Space Values

Natural open space can provide us with a sense of peace, a place for quiet reflection, a time to see our own concerns in better perspective. Or it can be a place to challenge ourselves on strenuous hikes, horseback riding or other endeavors.

santa cruz river

Santa Cruz River

Natural Open Space:

  • Promotes physical and spiritual health – reduced stress is demonstrated to improve mental outlook and increased physical activity results in reduced medical needs
  • Increases the value of nearby residential properties since people like living close to parks and protected open spaces and are willing to pay for the privilege.
  • Helps protect the water supply by allowing for natural recharge and reduced flooding.
  • Reduces the Urban Heat Island Effect
  • Maintains wildlife habitat and linkages
  • Protects important archaeological and historical sites

desert horned lizardCan you find the desert horned lizard?

So get outdoors and enjoy nature – there’s a lot to see and do!


By: Janine Spencer, M.A. Wildlife Management

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