Heritage Fund HALF Full!

Article by Jim McPherson, President of the Arizona Preservation Foundation and Vice-President of the Arizona Heritage Alliance – July 6, 2022.

While the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund appropriations was cut in half from $5 million last fiscal year to $2.5 million this fiscal year, the State Legislature and Governor approved other significant funding for parks, trails, historic preservation, and wildlife conservation. Over and above funding for the staffing and operations of Arizona Game & Fish and Arizona State Parks & Trails (the two state agencies that the Arizona Heritage Alliance advocates for every day), investments were made for the following initiatives:

  • Historic Resources: Arizona Historical Society; Arizona Mining, Mineral & National Resources Museum; Arizona Pioneers’ Home; Fort Whipple Homeless Veterans Housing; Prescott Historical Society; State Capitol Renovations; historic building renovations at Jerome State Historic Park, Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park, and Tonto Natural Bridge State Park; Arizona Dude Ranch Registry; and State Archives Born Digital Record Preservation Study.
  • Natural Resources: Arizona Trail; campground, solar shade, smartphone accessibility, and water conservation projects at state parks statewide; specific improvements at Catalina State Park, Dead Horse State Park, and Rockin’ River Ranch State Park; and mitigation of drought conditions affecting wildlife and sportsfish.

In addition, the Alliance has always supported the leveraging of funds from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) with all related grant programs managed by state and local governments. The Alliance applauds the recent announcement by the U.S. Department of the Interior that $5,695,464 from the LWCF will be invested in Arizona for outdoor recreation and conservation efforts, strengthening public lands and waters, building new outdoor spaces, and expanding access to outdoor recreation.

The Alliance thanks the thousands of Arizonans who called, wrote, emailed, texted, and used the Legislature’s Request to Speak service this past legislative session to voice their support of the State Parks Heritage Fund and Arizona’s historic and natural resources overall.

Information for 2022 Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund

Thank you for supporting the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund.  On June 28, 2022, the Governor signed the 2022/2023 Budget which included an one-time appropriation of $2.5 million to fund the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund.  Please feel free to email or call us at 602,738.8381 if you have any questions or need more information.

2021 Heritage Fund Report

2022 Heritage Fund Fact Sheet

Support Flyer – Vote Yes on SB1270

List of 2021/2022 ASP Heritage Fund grant awards (as of 6.29.2022)

2021/2022 Estimated Totals of ASP Heritage Fund and ARAP grant awards (as of 6.29.2022)

Arizona Heritage Alliance Email blast – 2022 Legislative Session is Open

Alert:  SB1270 is on AZ Senate Appropriations Committee 2.1.2022 Agenda 

Live Webinar on Background of the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund.

Letter to the Editor by AHA Board Member Natalya Brown – Phoenix Independent

Letter to the Editor by AHA Board Member Natalya Brown – Daily Independent

Letter to the Editor by AHA Board Member Steve Farley – Tucson Daily Star

Guest Column by AHA President Russ Jones  – Yuma Sun

Letter to the Editor by AHA Board Member Bryan Martyn – Daily Independent

Colorado College released the results from their 2022 Conservation in the West Poll. It’s chalk full of resources that you could incorporate into your discussions with decision-makers and communications materials on the benefits of public lands spaces to Arizonans, Here’s a few resources to highlight:

Alert:  SB1270 is on the AZ House Land, Argiculture and Rural Affairs Committee 3.14.2022 Agenda

February 2022 Poll – Arizona Statewide Issues – Prepared for the State Innovation Exchange by TargetSmart

Alert:  SB1270 Still Needs Your Support to Restore the ASP Heritage Fund in the Lottery

FY 2023 Executive Arizona State Parks Budget Handout

 

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.