Land trust commissioner updates Apache Junction audience on Arizona issues

Arizona State Land Trust Commissioner Lisa Atkins will make a return visit March 28 to the SALT Speakers Series. (Submitted photo)

The commissioner of the Arizona State Land Trust Department will speak 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 28, in the Apache Junction Multi-generational Center, 1035 N. Idaho Road.

Lisa Atkins will address an audience at the Superstition Area Land Trust Speakers Series, updating her talk of about two years ago on the topic: A New Approach to Management of Arizona State Trust Lands.

An Arizona native, Ms. Atkins, the 21st commissioner, has more than 40 years of experience in the federal and state legislative and policy arenas. She serves as an elected member of the board overseeing the Central Arizona Project and as an adviser to the Governor’s Military Affairs Commission.

The Arizona State Land Department roots derive from an act of Congress on Feb. 24, 1863, when the Territory of Arizona was established. Today, the land department is responsible for managing and
administering 9.2 million acres of state land held in trust for 13 beneficiaries, the largest of which is K-12 education.

Arizona State Land Trust management policies and practices have great influence locally, according to a release announcing the March 28 talk.

About 35 percent of Pinal County is state trust land, and that is concentrated in the central and eastern portions of the county. Large tracts are within and next to Apache Junction, as well as south of US
60 in Apache Junction’s expected growth area, the release stated, adding the vast majority of the 275 square miles studied and analyzed by Superstition Vistas is state trust land.

Additionally, the Superstition Foothills that SALT was formed to conserve is nearly all state trust land. This consists of some 43 sections (square miles) of land immediately south of the Superstition
Wilderness Area from just east of Apache Junction to a point well north of Florence Junction – and was initially proposed for conservation by the Superstition Area Land Plan in the early 2000’s, SALT officials stated.

That proposal was reiterated by Superstition Vistas, and subsequently adopted by the Pinal County Open Space and Trails Master Plan and the Pinal County Comprehensive Plan.

The mission of the department Ms. Atkins leads is “to responsibly manage the assets of a multi-generational perpetual trust in alignment with the interests of the beneficiaries and Arizona’s future.”

Event organizers stated they expect a large crowd to hear her speak and advise early arrival of audience members.

SALT is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Speakers series events take place on the second and fourth Wednesdays, October-April. Visit: azsalt.org.

The Apache Junction Independent is mailed each month to 35,000 homes.

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