Arizona State Parks & Trails Heritage Fund Grant Workshops and Information

The Arizona State Parks & Trails Grant team will be holding a series of Heritage Fund Grant workshops over the next few months. Grant staff will discuss opportunities available through the Heritage Fund, as well as eligibility, available funding, and important program policies. Staff will also discuss the application and approval process, provide tips for submitting successful applications, and answer questions.

Recordings of past workshops as well as additional information about the Heritage Fund Grant and how to apply will be available on the Arizona State Parks & Trails website under “Grants and Information.”  Click here to access the page directly.

The next workshop will be held Thursday, August 26, 2021 from 9 AM to 11 AM at which time State Parks will discuss all of our available funding opportunities, including the Recreational Trails Program, State Off-Highway Vehicle Program, Land and Water Conservation Fund, and the Heritage Fund. Below is the information for the August 26 workshiop. Please email grantstaff@azstateparks.gov to RSVP or if you have any questions regarding any of the grants.

Thursday, August 26, 2021 – 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Join by video system:

https://meet.google.com/dib-wxfv-nau

Join by phone:

+1 478-974-9161

PIN: 336 508 423#

Funding Restored for Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund 

On June 30, 2021 Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed the state budget for Fiscal Year 2022 , including $5 million to fund the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund.  

The State Parks Heritage Fund was restored in the 2019 legislative session via Senate Bill 1241, sponsored by then Senator Kate Brophy McGee of Phoenix, but without dedicated funding until 2029 when Arizona Lottery funds would be utilized. This session, Senator T.J. Shope of Coolidge and Representative Joanne Osborne of Goodyear introduced bills, Senate Bill 1384 and House Bill 2127respectively, that gained strong bipartisan support in both chambers. Through the budget negotiation process, the final outcome was $5 million. 

 Through a matching grant process to be developed by the Arizona State Parks Board in consultation with staff of Arizona State Parks & Trails and the State Historic Preservation Office, the monies in the State Parks Heritage Fund will be allocated as follows: 

  • 50% on local, regional, and state parks for outdoor recreation and open space development, restoration, or renovation, 
  • 30% on local, regional, and state historic preservation projects, 
  • 10% on local, regional, and state non-motorized trails, and 
  • 10% on outdoor and environmental education 

LEADERS RESPOND 

Representative Joanne Osborne, who also sponsored a bill in 2019 to support the State Parks Heritage Fund, noted, “My family came to Arizona in the late 1800’s. Our state’s history can be found in so many places and needs to be preserved for future generations. Arizona is a unique and special place from its glorious lands to incredible places. Let’s keep the West alive and our Arizona Way. It was an honor to carry the bill to advocate for funding for the State Parks Heritage Fund.” 

According to Senator T.J. Shope, “After 11 years, our state’s executive and legislative branches finally came together to fund the State Parks Heritage Fund to maintain and upgrade the growing number of parks, trails, and historic preservation projects that have languished or are newly-proposed in every municipality, county, and tribal area in our state. I’m excited to see what projects start coming out of the ground to enhance the communities in which they’re located.” 

Russ Jones, former state representative from Yuma and current board president of the Arizona Heritage Alliance, a long-time advocacy organization for both the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund and Arizona Game and Fish Heritage Fund, noted that, “Communities may have the opportunity to double their impact by using State Parks Heritage Fund grant dollars to draw down a match from the National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).” The LWCF is one of the nation’s most important conservation programs, responsible for protecting parks, wildlife refuges, and recreation areas at the federal, state, and local levels. 

Janice Miano, past president and former executive director of the Alliance, noted, “The Arizona Heritage Alliance never gave up advocating for the restoration of the State Parks Heritage Fund. We just kept at it year-after-year to honor the legacy of long-serving board members who passed away during the funding hiatus – Brian Pinney, Beth Woodin, and Tom Woods – and to benefit future generations of Arizona residents and visitors.” 

ARIZONANS SUPPORT OUR NATURAL AND CULTURAL RESOURCES 

The importance of Arizona’s local, regional, and state parks, trails, and open spaces became more evident as elected officials, businesses, and residents worked to overcome the social and economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Public parks and open spaces provided Arizonans the space for socially distanced recreation and respite during these challenging times. In a recent study conducted by the National Parks and Recreation Association, three in five U.S. residents – more than 190 million people – visited a park, trail, public open space, or other recreation facility at least once during the first three months of the pandemic (mid-March through mid-June 2020). 

2020 survey by Gallup and the Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA) finds widespread agreement among Arizonans on a broad range of policy objectives for the next decade, including the environment. Arizonans overwhelmingly appreciate the state’s natural beauty, with 91% rating it as “excellent” or “good.” A similarly high proportion (92%) say it is important for the state to “preserve and protect its rivers, natural areas, and wildlife,” one of the highest levels of consensus seen in the Gallup Arizona survey. 

According to Samantha Coffmann, executive director of the Arizona Parks and Recreation Association, “The work of the Arizona Heritage Alliance has been significant for our state’s parks, trails, open space, and cultural sites. Protecting funding for grants made available through the Heritage Fund is vital to Arizona’s quality of life and the overall economy. Monies received have positively impacted our state over the last 27 years. The Arizona Parks and Recreation Association and our members greatly appreciate the years-long effort the Alliance board has put into advocating for permanent authorization of funding for this key program.” 

ABOUT THE ARIZONA HERITAGE ALLIANCE 

If you hike, boat, ride, hunt, fish, watch wildlife, visit a park, or tour historic sites, then Arizona’s Heritage Fund affects your life. The Arizona Heritage Alliance is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created in 1992 to protect Arizona’s Heritage Fund and its objectives. The Alliance is guided by a Board of Directors drawn from a broad base of outdoor sports, environmental conservation, and historic preservation groups that helped pass the 1990 statewide voter initiative creating the Heritage Fund. 

The Alliance’s mission is to preserve and enhance Arizona’s historic, cultural, and natural heritage. It accomplishes its mission by actively: 

  • Protecting the integrity and voter intent of the Arizona Game and Fish Heritage Fund and working to restore funding for the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund, 
  • Monitoring state legislative and agency activity, 
  • Pursuing sustainable and dedicated funding sources for Arizona’s historic, cultural and natural initiatives, programs, and activities, and 
  • Educating people of Arizona about the benefits of Arizona’s wildlife, open space, parks, and historic and cultural resources 

More Spending on Outdoor Recreation, Delivery Services help Trim Arizona Jobless Rate

Source:  Arizona Daily Star – Tuscon.com – December 17, 2020 – Updated January 1, 2021

Credit: Josh Galemore/Arizona Daily Star

Arizona’s unemployment rate dropped a tenth of a point last month. And at least part of that could bethat more people are hitting the road — socially distanced, of course. New figures from the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity show the state gained 27,500 private sector jobs last month over October. That still leaves employment here by private businesses nearly 74,000 below where it was a year ago. And Arizona’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate, even at 7.8%, is still more than a full point higher than the national level.

But Doug Walls, the agency’s research administrator, said as the economy recovers from the initial shock of COVID-19, there are some brighter areas emerging, not just here but across the nation. And that goes to how people are spending their money. For example, he said just between September and October, the most recent breakdown available, spending on recreational services went up 2.6%. And there was a 1.5% month-over-month boost in what people across the nation were shelling out for recreational vehicles and goods. “People are just trying to get out of the house,” he said. “Maybe they’re trying a new hobby, camping, hiking, biking, those kind of things you can do individually or socially distanced.”

At the other extreme, month-over-month consumer spending for gasoline and other energy goods dropped 1.5%, with declines also in clothing and footwear. And people are still not looking to go out to eat or travel, as shown by declines in spending on food services and accommodations like hotels and motels. In fact, those remain the weakest part of the state’s recovery, with employment still more than 13% below where it was a year ago, a net decline of nearly 44,000 jobs.

The pandemic also is having another effect: an acceleration of the shift to buying things online and having them delivered. Walls said that normally at this time of the year, there would be a boost in seasonal hiring through temporary employment agencies. But the number of people working for those services actually dropped between October and November. At the same time, there was a 7.8% month-over-month increase in Arizonans working in transportation and warehousing, a category that reflects not just those fulfillment centers and the drivers that work for them but others doing delivery.

Walls said there has been a gradual increase in e-commerce now for more than a decade, rising from just 0.6% nationally of all sales in 1999 to about 11.8% in 2019. “And then, almost immediately after the COVID-19 pandemic we saw the share of e-commerce sales jump up quite dramatically,” he said, sitting most recently at 14.3% of all sales. Put another way, nearly one dollar of every seven in current consumer spending is in online purchases. “I would say that’s a direct effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift in the consumer preferences and the way consumers are purchasing goods and services,” Walls said.

It was only that sharp boost in year-over-year employment in transportation and warehousing that saved the entire trade sector, with the number of people working in retail actually down from the same time a year earlier. That increase in warehouse and delivery jobs, in turn, has resulted in the overall trade sector having more than recovered from the effects of the pandemic. Walls said for every two jobs lost in that slice of the economy since February, the state now has three.

The situation, however, is not the same across the board. The state’s mining industry has brought back just 22% of the jobs lost since February. It isn’t much better in the manufacturing and information sectors with the recovery at 30% and 32% respectively. Still, he said, Arizona is doing better than the nation as a whole. The latest figure shows job losses here at 3.1% overall since February, versus 6.5% nationally.

National Recreation and Parks Association 2020 Engagement with Parks Report

Source:  National Recreation and Parks Association – September 2020

Parks and recreation touches the lives of millions of people every day. Parks, trails, public open spaces and recreation facilities are places where people can improve their physical and mental health, gather with family and friends, and reconnect with nature. With vast, diverse offerings, parks and recreation provides a unique, personal experience for every member of a community.

With their goals of advancing community health and well-being, developing climate-ready parks and providing equitable access to their many benefits, the more than 10,000 local park and recreation agencies across the country help make our cities, towns and counties vibrant communities. In turn, the public recognizes parks and recreation’s innate ability to improve the lives of every member of a community. When deciding where they want to reside, people seek places that feature well-maintained parks, vast trail networks, pools and other recreation facilities.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has demonstrated the essential value of local parks and  recreation. Thanks to the tireless efforts of park and recreation professionals, most parks, trails and other public spaces have remained open and safe during the pandemic. Even at the peak of stay-at-home edicts, parks and trails largely remained open, and frequently served as the sole recreation opportunity available to the public. Many park and recreation agencies also have been vital contributors to their communities’ pandemic responses by delivering nutritious meals to community members in need, offering their spaces as emergency shelters for people experiencing homelessness or expanding classroom capacity for schools, and providing childcare and services for families of emergency first responders and essential workers.

Each June since 2016, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Research team has surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults to better understand how people connect with parks and recreation; the results of these surveys are the basis for the annual Engagement with Parks Report. This report provides park and recreation professionals and advocates, policymakers and other key stakeholders with insights about the impact that local parks and recreation facilities have on the lives of every person in our nation.

In 2020, NRPA conducted a shorter-than-typical Engagement survey because of the dynamic nature of life during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 study focused on a few key questions:

  • How frequently do people visit parks, trails and recreation amenities?
  • How has the pandemic affected park usage?
  • Do adults in the United States see public parks as an essential government service?
  • Are people more likely to vote for political leaders who support funding for parks and recreation?

Key findings of the 2020 Engagement with Parks Report include:

  • Eighty-two percent of U.S. adults agree that parks and recreation is essential.
  • Seventy-seven percent of survey respondents indicate that having a high-quality park, playground, public open space or recreation center nearby is an important factor in deciding where they want to live.
  • U.S. residents visit local park and recreation facilities more than twice a month on average.
  • Three in five U.S. residents — more than 190 million people — visited a park, trail, public open space or other recreation facility at least once during the first three months of the pandemic (mid-March through mid-June 2020).
  • Seventy-two percent of U.S. adults are more likely to vote for local political leaders who make park and recreation funding a priority.

Click Here to download the entire report.