Karen Krause with Bob Bement

Author Karen Krause with Bob Bement, executive vice president and chief nuclear offi cer with Arizona Public Service. A $6,647 grant from APS covered the initial printing costs of the White Tank Mountains Field Guide. (Photo courtesy Karen Krause)

If you’ve ever gone hiking in the White Tank Mountains and passed by a plant, tree or animal and wondered exactly what it was – there’s now a book for that.

Waddell historian and author Karen Krause, a member of the White Tank Mountain Conservancy since it began in 2015, recently released the White Tank Mountains Field Guide.

The book was released in late November and includes 120 color photos and 100 pages of short descriptions of flora and fauna, reptiles and amphibians, cacti and trees and shrubs that visitors may encounter in the regional parks. It also has a section on desert safety.

“The White Tank Mountains are somewhat untouched at this point,” Krause said. “A lot of people are just now starting to discover them. The West Valley, despite being settled since the 1920s, is just starting to get a lot of growth.”

Krause will sign and sell copies of the book from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, January 12, outside of the White Tank Library entrance, 20304 W. White Tank Mountain Road, Waddell. For more information, visit wtmconservancy.org.

Krause, an Arizona native who has lived in the far West Valley for 25 years, said she is constantly amazed by the beauty of the Sonoran Desert. “The White Tank Mountains have been in my backyard for a couple of decades now. We have an immense amount of diversity that we’d like to keep intact,” Krause said. “Protecting that is part of keeping the mountain alive.”

Krause, who conducts history presentations through the White Tank Conservancy, also included history of the White Tank Mountains in the field guide. “The area served as a reliable water stop and used to be a very important place – a watering hole that now no longer exists,” she said. “When you look back at the first territorial map for the area, there are only two places named – Fort McDowell and the White Tank Mountains.”

She had already been working on a book about the history of the White Tank Mountains for a few years. She put that on the back burner as she felt the Field Guide was something the conservancy and the public needed. “Part of our (the conservancy) promise is to connect with people and to connect them to the mountains. I thought this would be a project that would help with that promise we made.”

Topics for the White Tank Mountains Field Guide came from Krause’s work with the conservancy. “Mostly I thought about what people were asking when we were interacting with them at the park and at the library,” she said. 

All photography was donated to the effort, and Krause is donating her time and all proceeds from the book to the White Tank Conservancy. The proceeds will contribute to the long-term conservation of the cultural and natural resources of the White Tanks and to the experience of mountain visitors.

A $6,647 grant from Arizona Public Service covered initial printing costs. The guide is available at WTMC outreach events and the White Tank Mountains Regional Park Nature Center.

Krause has future plans to turn the spiral-bound 5-by-9 book into an interactive, digital version that will include bird and animal sounds along with active links to additional information.