Tue, June 25

All-American Road the 'gateway to a blessed land'

Greetings Neighbors! Those beautiful words were spoken by Elder Vincent Randall of the Yavapai-Apache Nation on the 4th of July as he blessed our newly completed and enhanced All-American Road. What moving thoughts from an Elder who loves this land.

In a recent meeting of the Big Park Council, we heard the ancient and sacred stories of Big Horse Park and Big Eagle Valley told to us by Elder Vincent Randall. The ancient Apache names evoke pictures and images of majestically soaring winged creatures and wild beauty with thundering hooves and proud visage. This is indeed a land rich in heritage and culture that we have the great pleasure and privilege to live in at this time.

At the All-American Road Celebration on the 4th of July, speaking to the crowd assembled at Tequa Festival Marketplace, I issued a challenge to the community. The challenge I will restate for you now, it is simple and direct:

"Take ownership and engage yourselves in the ongoing evolution of this community and its image. Invest yourself; give your time and energy and talents. You are important and you are needed to make the picture come into focus! We are at a critical time in our community's history, make a difference and let your voice be heard!"

The Big Park Regional Coordinating Council has provided a Committee to you, our neighbors, the Vision and Community Enhancement Committee. The Chairperson is Vice President Mel Copen. Contact Mel, whether you live here full time or have a secondary home here. You have experience and an opinion about this community. Let it be known.

Answer the question posed by Mel last month to each of us: "In ten years from now, what will you imagine will be the most significant changes in our community?" Please answer this question and email it to put as much or as little effort into the answer as you wish, but let us hear from you.

It surely is the "Gateway to a Blessed Land..." and we each have our own reasons for loving this place. As a community, let's translate and articulate that into our "Sense of Place and Community."

For me, I love the story of the Great Eagles who were such a challenge to the Apache people from the top of Courthouse Butte, as we call it today. The Apache story captures my imagination. Their names for Big Park of Big Eagle Mountain or Big Eagle Valley lift my thoughts and vision to a place that has more dimensions and deeper layers than I have personally experienced.

Those before us, who treasured the history and taught their people to tell the stories have helped to create the foundation of this land, Big Park. How will the story be told in the future? How will this corridor look? What will be the images, impressions, that our millions of visitors and residents carry forward each time they drive our All-American Rd.? Will we inspire them? Let's all be engaged in the outcome.

Council Business updates: I'd like to tell you about a few business items regarding the Council. In July, State Senator Steve Pierce visited with us and gave us a Legislative update. Senator Pierce also invited us to visit him in his offices in Phoenix and keep our thoughts and opinions in front of him. His contact information is: and his Senate phone number is 1-602-926-5584. Let's keep the Senator up to date on our concerns and issues.

Community Plan Process: Also, Yavapai County Development Services has been working on a revision of the Community Plan Process Documents. The Big Park Community Plan Review Committee has been working closely with Director of Development Services, Chad Daines to craft a document that works for the communities and the County as well. Many thanks to those volunteers for their hours of time and talent along with Mark Mumaw, Chairperson of the Council's Planning & Zoning Committee to build a good compromise for all.

Transportation Committee Chairperson, John Gillam has been in touch with ADOT and Yavapai County to keep updated on the signage along SR 179. Also, monitoring and researching the comments from the public regarding these and other Transportation issues. This Committee works hours on these tedious details and prepares concise informative reports. Thank you!

Once again, if you've read this far, you know I have just a few last thoughts. For August's Council meeting, our new Sedona Fire District Chief Nazeh Hazime, has been invited to speak but his attendance will depend on the details of his move here from Dearborn, Michigan. If Chief Hazime cannot attend, he will, of course have a standing invitation to visit with the community at a future Council meeting.

We need your ideas. Thank you to all of you who have come out to a Council meeting or gotten involved in the Community Plan Review process or one of the other subcommittees.

There are currently about 80 community members working on various aspects of the research and fact-finding involved in the Plan Review. My hat is off to you! There is still lots of work to do, so go to the Council website and see what might interest you. We need each and every one to make our community what we collectively envision. Please don't hesitate to contact me at

I am enjoying the emails and appreciate comments from all of you. You challenge me to be better and more informed and I will continue to do my utmost for the community.

Next meeting: Hope to see you at the next Council meeting on August 13th 9am at the Sedona Fire District Station#3! And bring a friend, a neighbor, a new resident and please introduce yourself if I haven't already had the pleasure of meeting you! Hope to see there!