As a member of the team selected for a City of Phoenix Engineering On-Call, EPG provided landscape architecture services for the circulation and site improvements at this popular inner city trailhead. Proper programming, siting and location, and aesthetic treatment of the new facilities (expanded parking area, restroom, and ramada) were instrumental in focusing and limiting development to areas where their footprint did not further degrade or detract from Echo Canyon Recreation Area’s purpose. To determine impacts to the steep topography and drainage ways, numerous site plan alternatives were studied for proper configuration and siting of the expanded parking areas and trailhead plaza.
From the 4.3-acre construction area, more than 250 native trees and cacti were preserved in place or salvaged for reuse on the project. Beyond the requirements of the Arizona Native Plants Law, many additional cacti were salvaged and replanted as part of the trail abandonment and restoration. The preservation of natural resources included the replanting of several mature native trees and cacti that were salvaged from the construction area. The project preserved a major drainage wash coming off the mountain by limiting the expansion area, and balancing cut-and-fill for the parking areas with retaining walls at the mountain and wash edges. The realigned trail provides a lessened grade along the summit trail’s first section, thereby reducing erosion potential, and allowing restoration of the abandoned trail where erosion was an ongoing struggle.