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Friends of the Vistoso Trails Nature Preserve

The mission of Preserve Vistoso is to promote the public support and appreciation of the natural beauty and recreational amenities of Vistoso Trails Nature Preserve for the inspiration, education and enjoyment of current and future generations.


We’re excited to announce that we are transitioning to a new role and a new mission: partnering with the Town of Oro Valley to support the implementation of the soon to be completed Vistoso Trails Master Plan. We’ve had several conversations with Kristy Diaz-Trahan, Oro Valley Director of Parks and Recreation, about how we can work together to realize the vision of the preserve and we’re excited to further define our new role. Stay tuned for more information but we hope our membership will remain involved as Friends of Vistoso Trails. We know many of you are eager to work on restoring Vistoso Trails and there will be many opportunities for volunteers as we transition.

Preserve Vistoso Donates Bench in Vistoso Trails Nature Preserve to Honor Board Member

In a neighborhood ceremony on Friday, May 12, Preserve Vistoso board members honored board member Nancy Olson with the dedication of a bench in Vistoso Trails Nature Preserve.  The bench, purchased by Preserve Vistoso Board members, is located along the first hole of the former golf course.  Nancy worked tirelessly to help raise $1.8 million for The Conservation Fund to purchase the property, donate it to the Town of Oro Valley and protect it in perpetuity with a conservation easement. Her passion for this beautiful patch of Sonoran Desert was an inspiration to all of us.  

Nancy Olson

For those of us that were lucky enough to know Nancy, she was truly a force of nature, and despite her illness she worked tirelessly for this cause.

We will miss her great mind, her quick wit, and her tenacious determination. The result of Nancy’s efforts, and others in this community, is the creation of the Vistoso Trails Nature Preserve, a gift to the community of Oro Valley that will last in perpetuity.

Nancy’s efforts are greatly appreciated by Preserve Vistoso and the Oro Valley community.

Thank you Nancy.  You will be remembered as we follow the trails through this beautiful piece of the Sonoran Desert. 

For information about how to donate a bench click here.

All memorial benches are set up by the Town of Oro Valley

The Vistoso Trails Nature Preserve presents the beauty of the Sonoran Desert teeming with wildlife and artifacts of the Native Americans who lived and hunted there. The existing 6.2-mile, eight-foot-wide concrete path winds through the property providing visitors with views of the Catalina and Tortolita mountains, examples of varied desert vegetation, and the opportunity to view an abundance of wildlife. With easy access from multiple locations, visitors can stroll the property and connect with the natural world we tend take for granted.  

Click here to read more about the Preserve.

Vistoso Trails Nature Preserve Field Guide

Jake Smith, a resident of Rancho Vistoso, prepared a wonderful, comprehensive field guide to the Vistoso Trails Nature Preserve. It contains hundreds of photographs and descriptions of what you can observe in the Preserve. Click here or the image to the to read more about this wonderful resource.

A note from TOV: Rules signs are posted throughout the Preserve. Go-carts and ATVs have been driving on the property. While this is a fun recreational activity, it is NOT allowed in the Preserve.

Planning for the Future

The Town of Oro Valley selected Sites Southwest team, a landscape architecture and planning firm to create a master plan for Vistoso Trails.  Liz Cole, the project manager, collected our community comments and ideas and presented an initial plan at an open house at Steampump Ranch in January.  Members of the community made several recommendations that were incorporated in the latest draft presented on February 21 to the Parks and Rec Advisory Commission. This draft plan will now be presented to the Town Council on May 9.  We hope members of the community can attend these meetings. A link to the Draft Master Plan is below in the box titled "Draft Master Plan." 


 A link to the Town's website that describes the May 9 meeting is here.

Important Documents

Click the images below to review the documents. 

Draft Master Plan for the Preserve

(May 9, 2023)

5-1-23 Master Plan Cover.gif

Community Input Report

(December 22, 2022)

Help Eliminate Stinknet

April 27, 2023 — Please be on the lookout for Stinknet, a noxious and highly invasive weed that spreads quickly, destroys native plants, and can cause skin rash and problems for those with allergies. It degrades natural areas as it crowds out other desirable plants. 

Stinknet already has been spotted in our Nature Preserve and you can view those locations on If you spot this plant in Vistoso Trails 

or in your neighborhood, please send an email with location information to Oro Valley Parks and Rec at

Additional Information about Stinknet

There are several resources with information about Stinknet: 


  1. University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Stinknet: a Weed Advancing in Southern Arizona

  2. Arizona Daily Star published an article by Henry Brean Weed Warriors take aim at Tucson's largest stinknet outbreak so far

  3. Tucson Audubon has launched a website,, to help us understand the threat of this invasive plant.  

  4. An article titled "We Don't Need No Stinking Stinknet" by Tony Figueroa, Tucson Audubon's Invasive Plant Manager, described how the plant can cause skin and respiratory issues and also become a fire risk.

Thanks for your help keeping our Nature Preserve safe! 

Latest News

April 27, 2023

Help Eliminate Stinknet

Stinknet is a noxious and highly invasive weed that spreads quickly, destroys native plants

March 12, 2023

Voice Your Opinion at March 15 Oro Valley Town Council Discussion of Draft Plans for Vistoso Trails

On March 15 at 6:00 PM there will be a presentation and discussion of the draft Master Plan for the Vistoso Trails Nature Preserve. Please attend and voice your opinion.

February 15, 2023

Update from Preserve Vistoso (February 15, 2023 Pulse)

(1) Volunteer Needed to Assist on the Preserve Vistoso website, (2) Attend Next Vistoso Trails Meeting on Tuesday, February 21 at 6:00 PM in Town Council Chambers, (3) Preserve Vistoso has a new Mission Statement, (4) Vistoso Trails Field Guide

January 15, 2023

Update from Preserve Vistoso (January 15, 2023 Pulse)

Progress in 2022 and Next Steps for 2023

Girls Carrying a Recycling Bin
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