City Council

Scottsdale honors Campana, Manross with preserve amenity dedication

The McDowell Sonoran Preserve is a protected desert habitat in Scottsdale that features multi-use trails and natural desert life.
The McDowell Sonoran Preserve is a protected desert habitat in Scottsdale that features multi-use trails and natural desert life.
Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey

A consent agenda often allows the Scottsdale City Council to approve numerous items at once, bypassing discussion on those items but councilmember Virginia Korte decided to break the norm.

While not removing the item from the consent agenda, Ms. Korte wanted to recognize former mayors Kathryn “Sam” Campana and Mary Manross, whose names will become a part of two amenities within the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. The approval came at the March 17 meeting.

Ms. Campana’s name will be on an interpretive trail at the Fraesfield Trailhead while Ms. Manross’s name will be on the amphitheater of the Gateway Trailhead.

“I didn’t want the naming of some important amenities in our Preserve to go unwarranted or not seen by the public because I think this is a really important action we take tonight to honor two preserve pioneers,” Ms. Korte said during the meeting. “

In December 2019, Preserve Director Kroy Ekblaw received the nomination of Ms. Campana and Ms. Manross, detailing their efforts and contributions regarding the preserve.

Mr. Ekblaw then spoke with both Ms. Campana and Ms. Manross to confirm their support for the naming proposals and at a Feb. 6 Preserve Commission meeting, members unanimously approved the nominations.

Ms. Campana served as Scottsdale mayor from 1996-2000 and as a councilmember from 1986-94. Ms. Korte said Ms. Campana was the first mayor to cut a ribbon within the Preserve, opening a public access trail.

During her tenure as mayor, Ms. Campana was supportive of the Preserve’s expansion from about 15,000 acres to over 30,000 acres.

“Sam really had that vision and [I’m] really pleased we are honoring her tonight for her vision,” Ms. Korte said.

Ms. Manross served as Scottsdale mayor from 2000-09, ultimately losing to current Mayor Jim Lane. She also was a councilmember from 1992-2000 where she voted to create the preserve in 1994, a decision Ms. Korte called “pretty darn special.”

Ms. Korte also said Ms. Manross served as mayor and supported many preserve milestones as well as statewide preservation initiatives.

The city finished and opened the Fraesfield Trailhead for public use during the summer of 2019. Construction began in January 2020 on an interpretive trail within the trailhead.

The first phase of the trail construction includes trail grading and future phases include creating, fabricating and installing the interpretive sign panels. City staff anticipate this work, which will be a joint effort between city staff preserve staff and the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, to finish in fall 2020.

The Gateway Trailhead opened to the public in 2009 and includes a small educational amphitheater, which plays host to interpretive presentations. City staff say the amphitheater serves as a “gathering point” for visitors.

There are plans for discussions with the Preserve Commission and the community in the coming months on how to improve the amphitheater, such as providing shade.

“So we have a lot to thank, not only honorable Manross but also honorable Campana, for an incredible ammenity in this community and something that has defined Scottsdale and will continue to define Scottsdale,” Ms. Korte said.

“This is just a simple way of saying thank you for those years of commitment and passion and making some good things happen here in Scottsdale, so hats off.”