The town of Oro Valley, Arizona is nestled between mountain ranges within the Sonoran Desert, just a few miles north of Tucson. The Vistoso Golf Course in Oro Valley ceased operations in 2018, leaving area residents to wonder what would become of the 208-acre property that weaves it way through a residential area called Rancho Vistoso. One potential fate for the property would have been further development into more homes and buildings. However, many Oro Valley residents envisioned preserving this open space and turning it into a nature preserve with trails open to the community. These residents soon organized and rallied around the town’s motto, “It’s in our nature,” to bring their vision to reality, contacting The Conservation Fund for assistance along the way.

Photo by Bill Murray and Preserve Vistoso


After a successful second round of negotiations with the seller, we have reached an agreement for The Conservation Fund to purchase 202 acres of recreational open space that was once the fairways of the former Vistoso Golf Course (outlined in green on the map). A 6-acre parcel, a parking lot zoned for high -density residential use (outlined in brown on the map), will be sold separately to an outside developer.

Credit: The Conservation Fund

Once the 202 acres of the former Vistoso Golf Course is purchased, The Conservation Fund will protect the land with a conservation easement. While the Town of Oro Valley will become the eventual owner of the property, a qualified land trust will be named as the long-term property steward who will ensure it maintains adherence to the terms of the conservation easement.


Preserving the Vistoso property provides an opportunity to save open space woven throughout several neighborhoods in Oro Valley. It boasts spectacular mountain scenery, Sonoran Desert vegetation, Native American petroglyphs, and habitat for local wildlife. It already contains more than six miles of paved trails, three restrooms and trail underpasses for major roads, which will all be immediately useful as it transitions from golf course to public park.

Photo by Bill Murray and Preserve Vistoso


We have launched a $1.8 million fundraising effort to make this critical conservation effort a reality by the end of December 2021. Your donation today will directly support the Vistoso preservation project in Oro Valley, Arizona.

Tax-deductible charitable contributions may be made online, by check, wire transfer, securities transfer, and qualified charitable distribution.

Online – To donate online to the Vistoso project, please click here.

Check – Checks should be made payable to The Conservation Fund. Please designate your gift by including “Vistoso” on the reference line and mail to The Conservation Fund’s headquarters: 1655 N. Fort Myer Drive, Suite 1300, Arlington, VA 22209.

Wire – Please contact Scott Tison at to make a donation via wire.

Pledge Form – Download the Pledge Form here.

In the unlikely event that the Vistoso project does not come to fruition, you can redirect your gift to one of The Conservation Fund’s other conservation initiatives or your gift can be refunded. We will contact you directly should this unlikely event occur.