Tom McDonald - President, Superstition Area Land Trust

ImageOur speaker was Tom McDonald, owner of Smiling Dog Landscapes located in Gold Canyon.  Tom is the current President of the Board of SALT – the Superstition Area Land Trust.  SALT is a non-profit corporation founded in 1993 by visionary local residents of Gold Canyon and Apache Junction.  The mission of SALT “is to ensure the long term conservation, preservation and management of natural open spaces surrounding the Superstition Mountain Area through education, advocacy, land acquisition, federal and state lands protection and other conservation actions.”  The group is not antidevelopment, but believes in promoting sustainable development. 


Tom outlined some of the achievements of SALT.

·     Building the Lost Goldmine Trail – it is 5 miles long, took 10 years to complete using volunteer labor, one of the most popular trails in the area. SALT’s trail crew does ongoing trail maintenance.

·     Improving Silly Mountain – done in cooperation with the Apache Junction Parks and Recreation Department.  They built new trails including an interpretive trail; are in the process of restoring the scar on the face left by vehicles; and are performing ongoing trail maintenance there.

·     Footsteps Matter Desert Cleanup – SALT partnered with the Soroptimists and other local groups (including Rotary) to clean up the desert east of Gold Canyon.

·     Apache Junction Desert Clean Up – in cooperation with the Pinal Partnership Open Spaces Committee.  (The cleanup was near the area where Rotary helps host the 8K Trail Run.)

·     Education – SALT members work with local scouts to help them earn environmental merit badges.

·     Tony Ranch Purchase – SALT purchased the 78 acre Tony Ranch site using Army Corps of Engineers mitigation funds.  They are working with the Corps to determine the future of this hard-to-reach but popular recreational destination. 

There are several ways you can help SALT.  They are always looking for money to support their activities.  Also, there are volunteer opportunities on their trail maintenance crew and on their Board where they are seeking new members with legal training and with grant writing skills.  They are planning a Wine Canyon Fund raiser on October 24th. All are welcome to attend.  They are also celebrating their 20th year next year with a big gala to be held on March 2, 2013 at the Dolce Vita ballroom.