3/23/2013 1:03:00 PM My Turn: Arizona State Parks feels winds of positive change
As many of you know, our 28 Arizona State Parks are all open and still attracting more than 2.2 million visitors to Arizona. Even with high gas prices slowing campers in the rural western states, especially those with RV’s, State Parks’ visitation is holding steady.
Because Arizona State Parks is treated like a business, we have had to reduce a few hours, make some parks seasonal, and have increased our reliance on communities and Friend’s Groups. Not surprisingly, we’ve seen an increase in our revenues and a decrease in our operational costs. The winds of positive change are definitely blowing our way.
The support we see every day from the public is stronger than it has ever been. I believe the aggressive efforts by the residents and visitors to protect the system of Arizona’s State Parks reflects the sentiments of the majority of Arizona’s residents.
Today, I’m inviting every Arizonan to get out and enjoy their Parks. The weather is perfect throughout the state. Arizona State Parks has a new program called “Family Camping.” This program shows how easy and affordable camping can be. We give you a tent and fishing poles to use, and we even show you how to set up the tent and set your hook. We are “Camping Central” for campers looking for information. Call us during the week or check out our website 24 hours a day for ideas, camping tips and maps.
One of Arizona State Park’s best qualities is our flush toilets, hot showers and easy access. Every one of our Parks is handicap accessible and a compact car won’t have any trouble...as our roads are paved. Campers will be surprised to find upgraded areas like white sand on the Colorado River park beaches, huge shade trees and new campground loops.
The skills of our Rangers to manage volunteers and projects that enhance the Parks are one of our greatest assets. Our Rangers are experts at their Park and many of them are law enforcement officers. Our Parks are safe, convenient, affordable and provide untold opportunities to develop memories that last a lifetime.
See you at the Parks!
Bryan Martyn is the Executive Director of Arizona State Parks.