Thursday, December 30, 2021

A Community Conversation About Water

Camille Cox, President

A Community Conversation About Water

In October, the Sustainability Alliance produced an online webinar about a new Friends of the Verde River program designed to give homeowners, businesses and communities a new voice in saving the Verde through their River Friendly lifestyle concept. Dr. Max Wilson, Sustaining Flows Manager for Friends of the Verde, explained the challenges the river faces and steps we can take in our daily life to help towards ensuring a healthy river for future generations.

It’s sad but true that the Verde is one of the Southwest's last flowing rivers, home to dozens of species of plants and animals, irrigation for farms, and water to millions of people. For many reasons, the summer flows in the Verde are rapidly declining, threatening to reduce this precious resource to a memory.

In easy-to-understand lingo and compelling visuals, the webinar explains the vulnerabilities of the underground aquifer that supplies the Verde. Although the river headwaters are some distance from us, we are in the greater watershed and seemingly small choices we make as residents and recreators (hiking, biking, kayaking, even dog-walking) DO impact the health of the river.

What is River Friendly Living?   The aim of the program is to inspire a culture throughout the region of voluntary conservation by recognizing those who make choices to protect the Verde River. The program provides a list of actions that residents and businesses can take, and features bronze, silver and gold certification levels. I took the test myself and, to my delight, our home qualified for Silver Certification.

The process is fast and easy. First, I recommend that you listen to the recording of the presentation so you gain full appreciation for what’s at stake, and how your actions will help:  If you’re already a hydrology whiz or just want to fast-track to the checklist, this Friends of the Verde River web page talks about the new program  Second, on the FOTVR page, complete the contact form and say you’re interested in certification. Last, when you receive the application by email, take 5 minutes to complete and submit.

I encourage everyone in the community to consider getting certified. What a sight it would be to have homes throughout the Village displaying signs showing their support for the health of the Verde!  This is one way that you can contribute to our community’s vitality.

Resolution for 2022 – Give Water Some Mind-Share.  Water is essential, mysterious and fascinating to study. The more I learn, the greater my appreciation for the urgency of water stewardship. My personal New Year offering to you is a reading list of books that opened my mind, particularly about the nature of water in desert environments. They are all thought-provoking, well written and will enhance your enjoyment of living in this high desert ecosystem.

The Secret Knowledge of Water, Craig Childs

The West Without Water, B Lynn Ingram and Frances Malamud-Roam

Dead Pool: Lake Powell, Global Warming, and the Future of Water in the West, James Lawrence Powell 

Other BPRCC Water-Related Activities  The Community Plan Committee will be releasing the draft plan in the next few months – and Water is one of the elements they have addressed. In March, a small team of citizens and Yavapai County Development Services staff, under the leadership of District 3 Supervisor Michaels, will be attending the 3-day Arizona Growing Water Smart workshop in Phoenix.  Dr. Marianne Langridge, Big Park/VOC community plan committee member, was honored with a seat on that team, and will bring back valuable information and ideas for activation.

In closing, I look forward to continuing in service to this community in 2022 as your Council president.  There are many important projects in process, and I look forward to seeing them come to fruition and contributing to the health and preservation of the Big Park Region.

Isaak Dudley with Friends of the Verde River, presented Camille and Philip Cox with a yard sign proclaiming their property as a Certified Silver Level River Friendly Home. The new program recognizes residents and businesses for taking measures that conserve and protect the Verde watershed region.

Local COVID Testing Information


Locally available tests and testing products is constantly changing, and a bit complicated. We have collected some information to help you understand and locate available options. The Big Park Council does not endorse or recommend any particular test/vaccine source or location.

Information resources on COVID-19 self-testingBuying and scheduling COVID-19 tests

If you are traveling, be sure that you confirm the test requirements for your specific destination. Some destinations accept a self-test result, while others require that the test be administered by a Health Care Professional. Timeframe restrictions also vary, and you'll need to plan ahead to ensure your test results meet the requirement.

The timing for test results varies by the type of test, the lab providing the results, and the number of people being testing at a given time or location. This can be anywhere from a few hours to five days - so call ahead and understand which type of test you are scheduling and when the results will be available.

When shopping for self tests, compare the approved diagnostic tests on the FDA list to what is available at the local stores and/or online. There may be additional locations and sources available in addition to those listed here. Phone numbers for individual locations can be found within the website links. Be sure to call to confirm before going to get your test(s).

The number of tests available for purchase and delivery options is another variable that can change, based on availability and demand.

Local curbside testing (PCR) and lab tests (PCR/NAAT) administered by a health care professional may also be available from the sources listed as well as from Spectrum Healthcare in Cottonwood (1-877-634-7333) 651 W. Mingus Ave., and NextCare Urgent Care in Sedona (928-203-4813) 2530 AZ 89A, Leenhouts Office Park.

COVID-19 vaccination shots and boosters

Information on locations and availability of COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters, can be found on the Arizona Department of Health Services website. Information can be viewed as a map or list:

The pharmacies and medical facilities listed above for testing, also may provide vaccination and booster shots. Call first as availability changes daily as does the need for an appointment vs. walk-in.

Friday, December 17, 2021

USFS Environmental Assessment (EA) for the APS Oak Creek to McGuireville 69kV Power Line Project

The Coconino National Forest has prepared a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the APS Oak Creek to McGuireville 69kV Power Line Project. This project includes the authorization of a long-term special use permit to construct, operate, and maintain a 13.7 mile long 69kV power line between the existing Village of Oak Creek substation and the existing McGuireville substation. The purpose of this project is to connect the power grid in the Verde Valley region, which would increase power flexibility and availability while also reducing risk of power outage for communities in the Verde Valley. This project is located just south of the Village of Oak Creek and extends south to within a few miles of McGuireville in central Arizona.

Alternative 1 Power Line Route

The preliminary EA and other project related documents are available on-line at Additional information regarding this action can be obtained from project manager, Mike Dechter at

The proposed project is an activity implementing a land management plan and not authorized under the HFRA and is subject to 36 CFR 218 Subparts A and B.

How to Comment and Timeframe

Specific written comments (§218.2) on the proposed project will be accepted for 30 calendar days following publication of a legal notice in the Arizona Daily Sun, which is anticipated for December 15, 2021. If the comment period ends on a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday, comments will be accepted until the end of the next Federal working day. The publication date in the newspaper of record is the exclusive means for calculating the comment period. Those wishing to comment should not rely upon dates or timeframe information provided by any other source.

Only individuals or entities (as defined by 36 CFR 218.2) who submit timely and specific written comments (as defined by 36 CFR 218.2) about this proposed project or activity during this or another public comment period established by the Responsible Official will be eligible to file an objection. Other requirements to be eligible to submit an objection are defined by 36 CFR 218.25 (a)(3) and include name, postal address, title of the project and signature or other verification of identity upon request and the identity of the individual or entity who authored the comments. Individual members of an entity must submit their own individual comments in order to have eligibility to object as an individual. A timely submission will be determined as outlined in 36 CFR 218.25 (a)(4). It is the responsibility of the sender to ensure timely receipt of any comments submitted. Names and contact information submitted with comments will become part of the public record and may be released under the Freedom of Information Act.

Comments should be within the scope of the proposed action, have a direct relationship to the proposed action, and must include supporting reasons for the Responsible Official to consider (36 CFR 218.2).

Written comments may be submitted by email to,; or via mail to Coconino National Forest, 1824 S Thompson St., Flagstaff, AZ 86001. Electronic comments may be submitted in Word (.doc or .docx), rich text format (.rtf), text (.txt), portable document format (.pdf), or HyperText Markup Language (.html). Names, addresses, and other submitted materials by commenters will become part of the public record and available for public inspection.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Weigh in on the Yavapai County Comprehensive Plan


Yavapai County 

Comprehensive Plan Update 2032


Join some of our Comprehensive Plan Committee Members in a discussion on the upcoming Comp Plan 2032. Along with Yavapai County Development Services staff to answer your additional questions on upcoming meetings, public participation and updates.
Date December 28th, 2021. Time: 4:06pm on:


“The PM Show” Call in and ask questions at 928-541-1016

Please visit our Yavapai County Comprehensive Plan website at for information on the 2032 Comprehensive Plan. 


December 9th BPRCC Meeting Highlights

 December 9th BPRCC Meeting

Public Agency Report:  Dr. Tina Redd, Dean of the Verde Valley for Yavapai College (YC), described her areas of responsibility including a focus on aligning the Strategic Vision with the needs of the Verde Valley.  After reviewing program offerings, she explained that practical applications are prioritized – such as the (pending) public cafe on the Sedona campus that will feature products made by students in the culinary courses. She reported that the YC Skilled Trades Center (STC) construction classes have been expanded to accommodate demand, and expansion of OLLI courses in Prescott and the VOC is being explored. She stated that the administration seeks to optimize current facilities before expanding.

The Q&A session included comments on the need for access to programs in NE Yavapai County. In answer to a comment about the commute burden between the VOC and West Sedona and other VV facilities, Dr. Redd explained that expansion is a function of class enrollment. A suggestion by President Camille Cox that YC collaborate with BPRCC to survey the community about educational interests was well received. Appreciation was expressed to Dr. Redd for her informative presentation.  

President’s Report  Camille complimented D3 County Supervisor Donna Michaels for being the first supervisor to participate with an entry in the annual Cottonwood Holiday Parade.  The theme of the float “We are the Verde Valley” was represented with a showing of district community leaders, including Mary Morris and Camille for the BPRCC. The parade route swelled with families enjoying the beautiful day and more than 60 parade entries. 

Call for 2022 Committee Members  The contributions of 44 committee members and liaisons during 2021 was recognized by the president. Volunteer opportunities for 2022 include website support (design update and posting), Planning & Zoning Committee (recorder for minutes, assist w/Zoom), membership (assemble handbook), Audit Committee, Nominating Committee, A/V Support (assist w/Zoom at monthly meetings and special forums). Dark-Sky, EPPiC and Community Plan Committees welcome additional members. Members of the community are encouraged to participate in committees: email your interest to

Bylaw revision to allow the President and VP to serve four consecutive one-year terms, making their possible length of service the same as the Secretary and Treasurer, was unanimously approved, effective immediately.  A new policy that details officer election procedures, was also unanimously approved. 

Strategic Planning and Leadership Development  A task force was proposed and unanimously approved to define a Purpose and Scope for a future committee.  Don Groves, Phil Feiner, Lenore Hemingway, Gwen Hanna, Duane Thompson and Mary Pope will comprise the task force.  

Nominating Committee  With the immediate effect of the bylaw revision permitting a third term for the President, Nominating Committee Chair Lenore Hemingway nominated Camille Cox for President for 2022. Camille was elected by unanimous and enthusiastic acclamation. 

P&Z  Committee  Chair Mary Morris announced that the December 17th P&Z meeting has been cancelled. The environmental assessment (EA) from the USFS on the APS 64kV powerline is expected December 15th.  A 30-day comment period follows.  The Council will respond to the USFS after the EA is published and notify the community via email and the website.  

Community Plan Committee  Chair Camille Cox reported that the Sonoran Institute accepted a Yavapai County team for their March 2022 workshop - AZ Growing Water Smart.  Dr. Marianne Langridge, BPRCC Community Plan Committee member will represent us on the team, along with Supervisor Donna Michaels, Supervisor Harry Oberg, county staff and members of the county’s Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee.  

Emergency Preparedness Planning Committee  Chair Gwen Hanna announced three new members – Mary Morris, Pat Murphy and Leslie Osborne. At the December 3rd committee meeting presentations were given on flood disaster (Camille Cox), general preparedness (Gwen Hanna), fire danger (Phil Feiner), and resources for pet/equestrian evacuation (Art Bertolina). Areas of overlap were identified and a draft site map will be created for information categorization and presentation.

Next Executive Board Meeting: Tuesday January 4th, 3pm, location TBD
Next Regular Meeting: Thursday, January 13th, 9am, Zoom
Next P&Z Meeting: Friday January 21st at 10am, Zoom
Next EPPiC Meeting: Friday, January 7th at 2:00pm, location TBD

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

AGENDA December Meeting - December 9th

This is a public meeting, conducted via Zoom. If you'd like to attend, send an email with your full name and email address to

9:00 A.M. Thursday, December 9th, 2021 

Public Agency Reports
  • Dr. Tina Redd, Dean of the Verde Valley and District-Wide Dean of English, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Lifelong Learning, Yavapai College
Call to Order
  1. Roll Call – Mary Pope, Secretary
  2. President’s Report – Camille Cox, President
  3. Secretary’s Report – Mary Pope, Secretary
    1. Approve November minutes (previously distributed to reps/alternates)
    2. Changes to Membership and/or Representatives
  4. Treasurer’s Report – Patty Reski, Treasurer
    1. Current financial standing
  5. Unfinished Business 
    1. Call for 2022 Committee Members
    2. Discussion & VOTE - Proposed Bylaw Revision Article VI – Officers, Section 1 Consecutive Terms of Office of the President & Vice President
    3. Discussion & VOTE – Proposed Policy on Officer Election Procedures
  6. New Business 
    1. Strategic Plan & Leadership Development Task Force creation
  7. Committee and Other Reports
    1. Nominating, Lenore Hemingway
    2. P&Z, Mary Morris, Chair
    3. Community Plan, Camille Cox
    4. EPPiC, Gwen Hanna, Chair
    5. Dark-Sky, Kirk Smith Co-Chair
  8. Announcements 

Reminders: Next P&Z Meeting: Friday December 17th at 10am, Zoom
Next EB Meeting: Tues, January 4th, 3pm, location TBD
Next Regular Meeting: Thursday, January 13th, 9am, Zoom

Supervisor Michaels' "We are the Verde Valley" Entry at the Cottonwood Holiday Parade

Thank you, Supervisor Donna Michaels for including the Big Park Council in your Cottonwood Holiday Parade entry. Thousands of Verde Valley residents turned out to enjoy more than 60 parade entries that cruised from the Verde Valley Fairgrounds to the end of Main Street.

President Camille Cox and P&Z Chair Mary Morris enjoyed getting to know other Verde Valley community leaders as we "floated" through Cottonwood. We ARE the Verde Valley!

BPRCC P&Z Chair Mary Morris, resident Al Fairchild, BPRCC President Camille Cox

BPRCC President Camille Cox, Sedona resident Cecy Gilbert, Verde Villages POA President Patti Greeneltch, Susie Fairchild District 3 Supervisor Community Outreach, Al Fairchild VOC resident, County P&Z Commissioner Charley Pitcher, Sedona resident Rhoda Pitcher.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Interview with Supervisor Donna Michaels

A local station recently interviewed our District 3 Supervisor, Donna Michaels.  In the interview she addresses many of the hot topics that impact the Big Park Region, and solution approaches.  Well worth your time.  Of key interest is what the County can and cannot do to help with protection of public lands, water and the value of community plans.