Summer is over and everyone is ready to get outdoors again. That’s especially good news if you’re a hiker and live in or near Marana.

We’re fortunate to have the Tortolita Mountains and their beautiful hiking trails in our back yard. People who live or visit here flock to those paths during the cooler months for exercise and the chance to take in some of the best scenery available anywhere in the world. I’ve hiked those trails more times than I can count and I see something new and impressive each time.

The Town knows the importance of keeping the Tortolita trails in the best possible condition. People are coming from near and far to use them and the paths must be up to the highest possible standards. That’s why we have Town employees build the trails and keep them in good working order. These men and women spend the entire year on the mountain doing tough work that benefits our community in so many ways.

The crew recently finished building the Ridgeline Trail, which covers a little more than 3 miles. The team is close to wrapping up the 1-mile Wild Burro Loop to increase connectivity among the trails. Our many regulars in the Tortolitas are happy to have a new trail to hike.

We’re also fortunate to have dedicated volunteers from the Dove Mountain and Sunflower communities who help maintain the trails. They only leave footprints behind when they hike the Tortolitas and they clean up after others who don’t follow that rule.

Some of those hikers – Jim Avramis, Jeff Blackburn, Gary Borax and Richard Muzzy – last month hiked 3.5 miles to help remove buffelgrass along the Wild Burro Trail System. Buffelgrass is an invasive plant that chokes off native vegetation and greatly increases the chances of deadly wildfires. No one wants any of that in our Tortolitas and the work these men did shows how committed our hikers are to preserving the trail system for generations to come.

To learn more about the trail system, please sign up to receive About Town, Marana’s quarterly electronic newsletter. The fall issue is coming out in the next few weeks and centers around hiking the Tortolitas. To receive the issue, visit and click on “About Town community newsletter.”

Our residents will continue supporting and using the Tortolita Mountain trails. The Town’s commitment is unwavering because these paths represent nature at its most pristine. They are community assets that make Marana a better place to spend time and we are fortunate to have them.

(Editors Note: Tom Ellis is the Town of Marana’s Parks and Recreation Director.)

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