Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why can’t we just leave the areas outside the developed park as they are?

A. Other than the 107 acres of the developed park purchased for the Town, the adjacent 400 acres are owned by the U.S. Forest Service. The land is an “in-holding” surrounded by residential areas and separated from the rest of the National Forest. The National Forest has a policy of getting rid of small isolated parcels so the land could be sold to developers and lost to the community.

Q. Isn’t there a law that says the Park can be sold only to the Town of Pinetop-Lakeside?

A. Realizing that the Town was struggling to purchase its beloved Park, Sen. John McCain and others passed a law that says the Forest Service cannot sell the land to anyone other than the Town “without a further act of Congress.” McCain took this step to give the Town time to purchase the park. The Forest Service is willing to give the community time to purchase the Park, as long as it shows progress. Donors helped the Town buy the first 107 acres two years ago. Save Our Park is now working on ways to help Pinetop-Lakeside purchase approximately 200 acres which will show continued progress. If the community said it was not interested in acquiring more of the park, Congress would be asked to make the remainder of the land available to developers.

Q. What is the next step?

A. The Town needs to ask the Forest Service for an appraisal of the next 200 acres.

Q. How much will it cost?

A. It is hard to know before the appraisal is complete, but probably from $3 million to $4 million.

Q. Isn’t that an awful lot of money?

A. Yes, it is. But people stepped up to buy the first 107 acre piece for $1.65 million. With an extensive community campaign, the necessary funds can be raised for the next purchase.

Q. I understand why you would want to buy the “Nature Preserve” along Walnut Creek, but why is it necessary to buy the land between the creek and the homeowners on the east side of the tract?

A. The Forest Service doesn’t want to wind up with multiple small pieces. Buying the creek area and east side would leave the Forest Service with a single piece of property on the west side. They have agreed to this division.

 Q. Why can’t the federal government just give Pinetop-Lakeside the rest of the park?

A. In the 1980s, many communities were requesting and receiving large amounts of Forest Service land. Arizona’s elected representatives decided to stop the giveaways and created a new rule that requires communities to pay if they want to own and protect Forest Service land.

Q. Will owning additional parkland bring more tourism to the Town?

A. Estimates based on a National Parks Association model are that the additional parkland would bring $2.3 million annually in additional revenue to Pinetop-Lakeside businesses and $90,000 additional revenue to the Town government.

Q. How will home owners be protected if additional acreage is purchased from the Forest Service?

A. Save Our Park is planning for a 150-foot buffer along private property to give homeowners an additional measure of privacy.

Q. What is Save Our Park doing to help keep the Lake full?

A. Save Our Park is working with the Irrigation District, Town, and water companies to ensure an adequate supply of water to Woodland Lake. This is a complex circumstance involving the rights and interests of many different parties, along with a need for financial resources. We are very pleased that an investigation by a Save Our Park board member recently helped to double the water flowing into the lake.