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Park Mountain Perfect Match for Real Thing

May 04, 1986

Construction has just been completed in Palm Springs on the $11-million Oasis Waterpark on Gene Autry Trail just south of Ramon Road, a project that taxed the abilities of the designer.

The problem was the 50-foot mountain needed for the water slides. The city, owner of the land and thus virtually a partner, wanted it to be a pleasing addition to the city's landscape.

"The city wants our artificial mountain to match the real mountains surrounding us," park manager John Kocourek said. "Even though we need an oasis atmosphere for all our water activities inside the park, the mountain as seen from the road, must be all rock and desert vegetation."

The Palm Desert landscape architecture firm of Ronald Gregory Associates was hired to design the mountain, along with the landscaping throughout the park. It succeeded but it had difficulties.

Ron Gregory said, "We had to provide a design that would hold this 50-foot pile of compacted sand together and make it look like a rocky outcropping that has been there since creation."

The solution included the construction of artificial rocks on the two sides facing the outside of the park. They were made one by one of Gunite, a sprayed-on or injected concrete, stained to look like desert granite. The steep landscaped slopes were covered with jute matting and typical desert vegetation.

Besides the water slides, the park contains a wave-pool, hydro tubes, a "lazy river," spas, a children's area called Squirt City, social areas and a private membership clubhouse with its own steam caves, saunas, pool, sun decks and an aerobics and fitness center.

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