Pinnacle Peak is both a landform and a coveted Scottsdale, Arizona residential area. Pinnacle Peak, the landform, rises out of the Sonoran desert floor to an elevation of 3,170 feet. Pinnacle Peak was formed approximately 18 million years ago as the result of tectonic plate movement and is composed of granite, feldspar, mica and quartz.
Pinnacle Peak, the area, is home to a variety of Sonoran plants and animals. Mountain lions, gray fox, desert tortoises, Gila monsters, coyotes, chuckwallas and western diamondback rattlesnakes are among the Sonoran animals that still inhabit the area. These critters share the Pinnacle Peak area with saguaro, cholla, ocotillo, palo verde trees, ironwood trees, bursage, and other species of Sonoran flora.
The Pinnacle Peak area has been home to the prehistoric Hohokam people, nomadic Yavapai, ranchers, and homesteaders during the 1930s, including K. T. Palmer, who would co-found Carefree, AZ during the 1950s. There was a stagecoach stop at Reata Pass and the world’s largest western steakhouse, Pinnacle Peak Patio, was established in 1957. But for most people living in Arizona during the 50s and 60s, Pinnacle Peak remained a remote, unspoiled area.
As the 60s gave way to the 70s and then the 80s, houses began to replace vacant ranch land. In 1977, Pinnacle Peak residents formed the Greater Pinnacle Peak Homeowner Association (GPPHA) to protect their interests and the desert environment they loved.
The Pinnacle Peak area became part of the City of Scottsdale. In order to keep members up-to-date on local issues, GPPHA established a member newsletter named, A Peek at the Peak (1983). In the late 90s, GPPHA applied to the IRS for nonprofit status, and the Greater Pinnacle Peak Association (GPPA) was born.
In 2003, Pinnacle Peak, Scottsdale became home to the 150 acre City of Scottsdale Pinnacle Peak Park. Much of Pinnacle Peak, Scottsdale has been developed, providing a home for many new Arizonans. GPPA’s newsletter has evolved into a widely distributed community magazine.
In 2004, Friends of the Scenic Drive, another north Scottsdale-based nonprofit merged with GPPA to better accomplish their common goals. Friends, founded in 1994, works for desert preservation and restored, maintains and enhances the Desert Foothills Scenic Drive, located on the northern reaches of Scottsdale Road. Established by Cave Creek/Carefree residents in 1963 to protect roadside plants and vistas, the Scenic Drive is an area landmark.
Today, GPPA publishes A Peek at the Peak (The Peak) magazine and e-Peak Newsletter as free services to the community. Despite the many changes to the Pinnacle Peak area, GPPA’s mission has remained the same: working to protect the interests of residents, the desert and the native wildlife by encouraging community activism and communication.
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