Tortolita Mountain Park will expand by 800 acres, thanks to an $1.3 million grant request.

The board approve the request Sept. 17. The county will aquire the property at a Dec. 4 state land trust auction, where it will have to pay 50 percent of the land's value. The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted in August to acquire the park, which is appraised at $2.5 million.

Established in 1986, the 5,600-acre park is a natural open space park in the northwest Tucson basin, Catalina, Oro Valley and Marana.

"We are very pleased with the decision by the State Parks Board since this will not only enhance the quality of life for our residents, but will dovetail with our ongoing economic development efforts," Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckleberry said in a news release. "Visitors consistently cite the natural environment as a key attraction."

Contact reporter Phil Villarreal at or 573-4130.