As most of you have read or heard, the Arizona State Parks Department has struggled to survive during the budget crisis. What we want you to know is largely because of 14 partnerships with rural communities, we have been able to keep all 27 of the state parks open, although some of them only seasonally.
Because the state parks are open, we can invite visitors to Arizona from around the world.
Arizona is blessed to have 900 dedicated volunteers who work every day to greet 2 million guests in these rural state parks. We are also granting out thousands of dollars for statewide hiking trails and off-highway vehicle management from state and federal funds.
On Arizona’s state and federal land, we have 1,000 site steward volunteers who watch your archaeological sites in remote deserts.
In 1957, Arizona’s leaders with the support of reporters, created this state agency to preserve our cultural and natural resources and build rural economies.
The original state parks enabling bill was signed by a visionary, Governor Ernest McFarland, and funded through the General Fund and Legislature.
The parks are now generating more than $200 million annually in spending in these communities and proving to be the economic engines they were designed to be in 1957.
Another important effort by the agency is the “Arizona Main Street Program,” an economic driver for small towns which is being reinstated through the State Parks Historic Preservation Office.
Now we need you to help protect and preserve Arizona’s natural and cultural resources. Please go on our Web site to volunteer, even if you only have one weekend to contribute. We need leaders to serve on advisory boards, offer a unique skill or scientific knowledge, or have a passion for history and we’ll welcome you into the Arizona State Parks family.
Most importantly, make your travel plans today to visit and enjoy your 27 state parks, 900 state hiking trails, OHV trails and historic gems. (www.AZStateParks.com)
See you in the parks.