Rockin’ River Ranch: Arizona’s Newest State Park

Source: Office of the Governor Doug Ducey Press Release, May 23,2017

Nestled between a leisurely stretch of the Verde River, one of the Southwest’s last free-flowing rivers, and open grasslands shaded by cottonwood trees sits the site of Arizona’s soon-to-be newest state park: Rockin’ River Ranch. The park, which is currently in the planning phase, received a $4 million appropriation in the budget recently signed by Governor Doug Ducey.

Once complete, Rockin’ River Ranch will provide visitors access to one of sdArizona’s most unique and pristine natural landscapes, as well as enhanced opportunities for outdoor recreational activities. More than one mile of riverfront will provide access for fishing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing; stables and hiking trails will connect visitors to Prescott National Forest; camping grounds and cabins will provide lodging for overnight guests; previously cultivated fields will lend space for community events; and did we mention the horses?

“Arizona’s state parks are known for their beauty and accessibility,” said Governor Ducey. “Rockin’ River Ranch, along the banks of the Verde River, is another impressive piece of our state’s exceptional landscape. I am looking forward to opening the park for Arizonans and visitors from around the country to enjoy.”

Currently, Arizona State Parks and Trails is taking special care to preserve the natural beauty of the ranch, and local community input is being sought on park amenities and design.

“This park will not only be an asset to Camp Verde, but all Arizona,” said Senator Sylvia Allen, LD-6. “I’m proud we were able to make this investment and help preserve this beautiful part of our state.”

“I just wanted to thank Governor Doug Ducey and State Parks Director Sue Black for their diligent work on Rockin’ River Ranch. This is a great investment for all of Arizona that will enrich our community, while preserving the Verde River’s rich heritage and natural splendor,” said Representative Bob Thorpe, LD-6. “I look forward to seeing this park come to fruition with the positive impact it will have for our citizens and our guests of Northern Arizona.”

“With Rockin’ River Ranch, generations of Arizonans and visitors to our state will be able to enjoy all the Verde River has to offer for years to come,” said Representative Brenda Barton, LD-6.

“We are working diligently, in coordination with the community, to keep the park a picturesque place for all to explore,” said Sue Black, executive director of Arizona State Parks and Trails.

Arizona’s state parks have proved to be important economic engines for rural communities, providing a quarter of a billion dollars in economic impact annually.

“From the economic development aspect, state parks are a huge asset for any rural community lucky enough to have one,” said Town of Camp Verde Mayor Charles German. “Today we feel very lucky and grateful to Governor Ducey, his team at Arizona State Parks and the legislature for choosing to invest in Rockin’ River Ranch State Park.”

“We’re happy to be able to help fund such an important development for our state,” said Rep. Noel Campbell, LD-1. “Investing in new state parks means more economic development for local communities.”

“Our job is to ensure that our state and our residents thrive,” said Senator Karen Fann, LD-1. “By investing in conservation and recreation, we can continue to provide opportunities for growth.”

Arizona State Parks not only support local economic growth, but also provide resources to invest across the state. According to Black, “The overall success of our parks system is what provided the revenue to fund Rockin’ River.”

Arizona Volunteers Provide Critical Support to County and State Parks

Source: Public Insight Network Bureau

During the Spring 2017 semester, an ASU student and representative from the Public Insight Network Bureau spent some time with the community of individuals involved in environmental20170225_100527 protection and conservation. The student explored how these Arizonans are working to address the environmental issues that concern them, both through volunteer work and political activism within the state. At the PIN Bureau, they aim to increase public participation in journalism and believe that every person has insight or a newsworthy experience they can share.  Part of their work includes engaging with a community, and reaching out to voices that can sometimes go somewhat unheard in the mainstream media.  Click here to read the student’s final project.

Our View: Don’t Kill Arizona’s State Parks Board Now

Picacho Peak State Park

Arizona Forward: Open Letter to Their Members

Source:  Email blast from Arizona Forward, February 8, 2017

The Arizona Legislature is considering a bill that includes a repeal the Arizona State Parks Board (HB2369), which we strongly oppose.  As part of Arizona Forward’s historic advocacy of parks and open space, as well as our work in creating a primer on the economic benefits of Arizona’s natural assets, we have registered our opposition to this measure and encourage you to do the same!

The State Parks Board provides citizens’ oversight to State Parks and is composed of people with various backgrounds, including recreation, tourism, and livestock, as well as the general public. Its purpose is to “select, acquire, preserve, establish, and maintain areas of natural features, scenic beauty, historical and scientific interest, and zoos and botanical gardens for the education, pleasure, recreation, and health of the people….”

On February 2, 2017, the House Government Committee voted 5-3-0 to repeal the Arizona States Park Board. I testified against the measure and will keep you updated as it moves the legislative process. Elimination of this important board will result in less transparency, fewer opportunities for public engagement on a broad level, and one less entity to advocate for a parks system badly in need of more advocates.

Please take action by sending a message to your state representatives today! If you are not sure who your legislators are, go to Find My Legislator and click on the link where you enter your address. You can then select legislators to find their contact information. Be sure to leave a message with an assistant or on voicemail.

We must be good stewards of these amazing resources, and need your help to ensure that happens!

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DIANE BROSSART
President & CEO
Arizona Forward

Since the publication of this letter, HB2369 is scheduled to be heard by the House Rules Committee on Monday, February 13, 2017 at 12:45 p.m. in HHR4.  Here is a link to the agenda.