Read the latest PRESERVE VISTOSO PULSE as well as articles from other publications about our vision and actions


For more information:

Patricia Sturmon, 520 591-2583
Gayle Mateer, 908 938-8227

Agreement Would Convert Former Vistoso Golf Course to a Nature Preserve 

Oro Valley, AZ, Oct 13, 2021—Preserve Vistoso announced today that The Conservation Fund (TCF) will purchase 202 acres of the former Vistoso Golf Course.  TCF will protect the property with a conservation easement as a nature preserve and community trail.  The Town of Oro Valley is expected to become the eventual owner.   TCF (501c3) is a nationally recognized conservation nonprofit organization creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, redefining conservation to emphasize its essential role in the country’s future prosperity.  

The property transaction should be final by year-end, contingent on the community raising $1.8 million for TCF to complete the purchase. Last year, community members conducted a successful pledge drive, but TCF’s offer to purchase the property was rejected. Now that an agreement was reached, there will be another opportunity for the community to raise the funds. 
“Our community’s goal to preserve the property is finally close to becoming a reality,” said Gayle Mateer, president of Preserve Vistoso, a 1,860-member community 501(c)(3) nonprofit.  “After the Vistoso Golf Course closed in 2018, we formed Preserve Vistoso so the community would have a voice in saving the property as a nature preserve and community trail.  Now as a community we need to secure the funds to complete the purchase to save some of the last remaining large parcels of Sonoran desert in Oro Valley as open space.”

Tom Weiskopf designed and opened the Vistoso Golf Course in 1995 with more than 70 percent of the property retained as Sonoran desert habitat. It has spectacular mountain scenery, abundant wildlife, more than six miles of paved trails, three restrooms and trail underpasses for major roads. The area was once home to a Native American village called Sleeping Snake, as evidenced by the petroglyphs that can be found on the property. 

“Our community would not give up,” Mateer said.  “Our volunteers persistently raised the issue of preserving the property with Town Council members and Town management.  Preserve Vistoso membership grew as more community members supported our efforts to preserve the property for community use.  TCF has been our valued and trusted partner.  We also applaud the involvement of Oro Valley Mayor Joe Winfield, Vice Mayor Melanie Barrett, Town Council members, Town Attorney and Town Manager in negotiations for the purchase. Their support and direction were critical to our success.”




Outline of property to be Acquired by The Conservation Fund

The Vistoso golf cart trail

  • September 9, 2021


September 9, 2021-- The Oro Valley Town Council last night approved a resolution to facilitate completion of the negotiations for the purchase of the 202 acres of the former Vistoso golf course by The Conservation Fund (TCF).  The Town has been involved in these negotiations since November 2020 and this motion authorizes the Town staff to take the necessary final steps to ensure the transaction is completed.  

“We thank Town Council members, Town Attorney and Town Management for supporting our efforts to save the Vistoso property as a community trail and nature preserve,” said Gayle Mateer, President of Preserve Vistoso.  “Negotiations are nearing completion and this resolution is the final step to remove any barriers to getting it done.  Mayor Winfield proposed the resolution which was unanimously approved (7-0) by Town Council members.”  

Here is the resolution: 

I move that the Town Council direct staff in accordance with their discussion in Executive Session to proceed with a settlement agreement of all disputes with Romspen that will facilitate the Conservation Fund’s purchase of the 202 acres of the former Vistoso golf course; that the Town Council will allow the Town to be party to the resolution of all claims with Romspen and be party to the negotiations of a conservation easement between The Conservation Fund and Romspen; including any consideration required by the Town; and that staff is directed in furtherance of a settlement agreement to involve a third party regarding the purchase of the 6 acres of the property owned by Romspen, currently zoned multi-family residential.

Preserve Vistoso wishes to thank all our members who sent letters to the Town Council prior to last night’s meeting.  By making your voices heard you have shown the Council that there is strong community support for their actions to complete the purchase.
More information will be shared once the deal is complete and the details can be made public.