Sweetwater Trailhead to be Renamed after Steve Anderson

Pima County’s Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Department will rename the Sweetwater Preserve Trailhead in honor of long-time NRPR employee Steve Anderson at a dedication ceremony on Oct. 28, at the trailhead, 4001 N. Tortolita Road.

Anderson, who passed away unexpectedly in November 2022, worked for the county for 28 years and played an integral part in planning or building more than 2,200 miles of trails around the county.

The trailhead and preserve will be closed from dusk on Oct. 27 to 2 p.m. Oct. 28. There will be no parking available at the trailhead or on nearby roads, but a shuttle service will be running from 9 a.m. to noon from Pima Animal Care Center, 4000 N. Silverbell Road.

“Renaming the Sweetwater Preserve Trailhead after such an influential and respected county employee is truly an honor,” said Sharon Bronson, District 3 Supervisor. “Steve’s impressive legacy stretches far beyond Pima County, but we are lucky that we get to benefit from his hard work and naming the trailhead after him will ensure that legacy of public service is remembered for generations.”

Anderson was widely seen as a visionary for natural resource parks and trail systems, not only in Pima County but throughout the southwest United States. In 1991, he helped secure the opening of the Saguaro National Park’s Cactus Forest Trail to mountain bikes–the first shared-use singletrack trail in the U.S. National Park Service system. At the time of his passing, he had also been working with Maricopa County Parks and Recreation on the Sun Corridor Trail, a 1,500-mile trail connecting Las Vegas, Nev., to Douglas, Ariz.

“Steve was a passionate, dedicated, and exemplary 28-year Pima County employee who devoted his life’s work to trails,” said Vic Pereira, director of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation. “Steve’s fingerprints are all over our trails system.  His lifelong legacy will now be memorialized by many Tucsonans and visitors alike.”

While Anderson had a hand in many, if not most, of the public trails Pima County has established over his almost three decades with the County, the Sweetwater Preserve Trailhead holds special significance for his family. It was there that he and his wife, Amy, celebrated their wedding reception.

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