Gila County officials toured a planned Pleasant Valley Veterans Retreat on Nov. 10.

Having secured a lease in June 2021 from Tonto National Forest for the Pleasant Valley Ranger Station buildings and property, Gila County plans to use American Rescue Plan funds to upgrade the facility for use by veterans and their families for a wide variety of services and recreational opportunities.

The goal is to have the site upgraded and open for use by spring 2022.

The Pleasant Valley Ranger Station, also known as the Pleasant Valley Administrative Site, was built in Young in 1919. It was listed on the National Historic Register of Historic Places in 1993 for its architecture, which is in the Bungalow/Craftsman style.

The lease between Gila County and the U.S. Forest Service includes both property and buildings. The buildings the county is leasing are the ranger’s house; assistant fire management officer’s house; historic ranger’s residence; historic district office; historic barn; paint shed; recreation shed; flammable storage shed; seed storage; crew quarters; district office, water and sewer system; and roads within the administrative site.

The lease requires Gila County to serve as the operator of all the subject buildings, as well as:

• Perform regular maintenance on buildings, as available funding allows;

• Perform landscaping maintenance within the lease area;

• Maintain all access roads in good working order;

• Maintain all federal and state permits for water and sewer systems;

• Consult with a Forest Service heritage specialist to ensure repair and maintenance tasks adhere to standards to protect characteristics of the historic structures; along with other responsibilities.

The lease agreement provides an opportunity for the county and its citizens to use the Pleasant Valley Administrative Site to further the county’s mission and goals, which include:

• Re-purpose and develop the existing site into a retreat for veterans and their families. This beautiful site provides a peaceful respite for veterans suffering from disabilities such as PTSD, according to the operating plan that is part of the lease agreement.

• Provision of services to veterans and their families by subleasing to a nonprofit will help revive the Pleasant Valley site, the community of Young and the greater Gila County community.

• Preserve, restore and maintain the character of the site.

In addition, there is concern that the buildings at the site, some more than 100 years old, are deteriorating and in need of immediate maintenance and repair. A secondary goal of the lease agreement is to stabilize the buildings from further deterioration through a program of occupancy and use that will involve interim winterizations, repairs and maintenance and, as possible, restoration and/or rehabilitation in accordance with federal and state standards.

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(1) comment

Denise Ryan

The Pleasant Valley Ranger Station may have been designated an administrative unit in 1919, but the historic Ranger Station buildings do not date from then. They were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps about 1934 and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places because of their association with the CCC and the distinctive architectural design used by the CCC to build these across the West. There are others on the Tonto National Forest listed on the National Register, including the Globe Ranger Station which used a unique design and materials.

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