Construction has begun on the new gazebo and on concrete walkways in the Doc Mock Park. Photo by Caleb Weaver

Starting in late October, you may have noticed activity in Doc Mock Park – the grassy expanse between the Wagon Wheel Saloon, the public restrooms, and Richardson Park. A new ADA-accessible concrete pathway spanning the length of the park and a six-sided ramada by the Doc Mock Memorial are going up in Patagonia’s public park. Starting in early 2021, the path and ramada will be ready for public use. 

The new path and ramada, built by McKay’s Custom Home and Furnishings, LLC of Patagonia, are the first stages of a grant from Arizona State Parks and Trails. The Patagonia Tree and Park Committee and Town of Patagonia collaborated to receive a $79,175 award, which will also pay for permanent informational signs in Doc Mock Park, a new map highlighting nearby hiking trails by the ramada, splinter-free mulch in Richardson Park, and three workshops. The new signs and mulch will be installed in 2021. In-person workshops will be held once gatherings are deemed safe. 

Improvements in Doc Mock Park are part of the Doc Mock Park Master Conceptual Plan, designed by Borderlands Restoration Network with support and approval from Patagonia Tree and Park Committee, the Patagonia Planning and Development Committee, and the Patagonia Town Council. The goal is to transform Doc Mock Park into a space that is inviting to residents and visitors, both human and nonhuman, for many years into the future. 

The new six-sided ramada will welcome and orient visitors into Doc Mock Park. Located adjacent to the existing Doc Mock Memorial, this ramada will be a covered gathering space with seating, a trail map, informational signs, and access to the concrete path through Doc Mock Park.

The 1,000 ft. path is a six feet wide pathway made of concrete to ADA specifications. Pedestrians will be able to access the path from multiple entry points: the restrooms, the corner of 4th Ave and McKeown Ave, McKeown Ave on either side of the existing mesquite/ash grove in Doc Mock Park, the covered picnic tables at the far southwestern end of the park, and The Nature Conservancy’s Nash Parcel Trail (also known as the Cemetery Trail.)

While vehicles will not be allowed to park between the concrete path and SR82, there will be parking allowed between the new path and McKeown Ave. Over 100 parking spaces will be available in Doc Mock Park for community events such as the Fall Festival and Fourth of July. 

Along with the winding pathway and comfortable ramada, the Tree and Park Committee is currently seeking funding to plant dozens of native trees between the new pathway and Hwy-82. These trees will act as a wind and noise break from the highway, shady respite for passersby, and habitat for migrating birds. The Tree and Park Committee and Town of Patagonia have already collaborated to bring water lines across 4th Ave. However, funding is still needed to lay irrigation lines, valves, and emitters the length of Doc Mock Park to support the future public forest. 

The Tree and Park Committee is also seeking funding to further support the future trees with rainwater runoff harvested from SR82. Members of the committee have noticed that trees planted in association with rainwater harvesting features grow twice as quickly as those solely receiving supplemental irrigation. Water that currently floods at the intersection of SR82 and Beaty Lane will be invited into the park with French drains. 

Before long, Doc Mock Park will be buzzing with the activity of migrating birds, visiting ecotourists, Patagonia children, dog walkers and shade seekers.