Arizona State Parks and Trails is awarded accreditation for best-practices

PHOENIX – Arizona State Parks and Trails has become the first state park system in the country to achieve accreditation from the Commission for the Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) for best practices in operation and service.

CAPRA accreditation is the only national accreditation for park and recreation agencies, and is a measure of an agency’s overall quality of operations, management and service to the public.

The agency is one of only 166 recreation agencies across the country to earn accreditation. The announcement was made on Wednesday during the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) annual conference in Indianapolis, Ind.

CAPRA accreditation is a two-year long process of checks and balances. Each agency must submit a self-assessment, complete the submission and review, and pass a site visit to ensure compliance to plans, policies, and procedures. Arizona State Parks and Trails’ initial self-assessment was submitted on January 23, 2018 and the site visit took place on April 9-12, 2018.

“This is about the hard work of the entire team and our continuing efforts to maintain this elite status,” said Arizona State Parks and Trails Executive Director Sue Black. “Becoming accredited is one of the highest honors that a park system can receive. Following our gold medal win for best state park system in the nation last September, this is a huge achievement for the agency. We are honored to be the first state park system in the nation to reach this goal.”

Accreditation requires agencies to respond to 151 standards representing elements of effective and efficient park and recreation management. To achieve initial accreditation, agencies must meet all 37 fundamental standards and 90 percent of the remaining standards. CAPRA accreditation is a five-year cycle that includes developing a new self-assessment report after being granted accreditation and revisiting this every five years. Additionally, the agency will submit an annual report to address continued compliance with the standards.

Agency staff played an integral role in reviewing, improving, and implementing policies, procedures, and plans that support the agency’s mission and deliver high-quality experiences to visitors. The public benefits from accreditation by knowing that Arizona State Parks and Trails is adhering to best practices in the field of parks, facilities, and programs. It also demonstrates to partners and potential funders that the agency operates under such standards.

For more information, visit

"Managing and conserving Arizona's natural, cultural and recreational resources for the benefit of the people, both in our parks and through our partners."

For information about all 35 Arizona State Parks and Natural Areas, the Trails and Off-Highway Vehicle Programs and State Historic Preservation Office call 1-877-MY-PARKS or visit

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