Information for 2022 Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund

Thank you for supporting the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund.  Below is information that you can use to share with your stakeholders, partners and colleagues encouraging them to support the 2022 Heritage Fund bills. 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 5.19.2022)

2021/2022 Estimated Totals of ASP Heritage Fund and ARAP grant awards (as of 5.19.2022)

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

 

Letter to Editor – Yumasun.com by AHA President Russell Jones

Letter to Editor submitted by Arizona Heritage Alliance President, Russell Jones – January 20. 2022

The restored Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund needs to be fully-funded by the Legislature this session

For many of us, our most treasured childhood memories are romping in a neighborhood park or taking a hike in Arizona’s wide-open spaces. Every community in our state, regardless of size, has a place where parents and their children picnic; throw, kick, hit, and dunk a ball; or stare in wonderment at Arizona’s unique flora and fauna. These special places provide wholesome outdoor recreation.

Historic downtowns and neighborhoods, where previous generations grew up, went to school, and conducted business, have been restored to their original beauty enabling Arizonans to continue to live near their jobs, schools, and local services.

Urban sprawl and destructive fires have impacted our open spaces, and historic buildings and cultural sites have faced destruction as time, the elements, or neglect have taken their toll.

The Arizona Heritage Fund was created in 1990 as a voter-Initiative which passed with over 62% majority. It directed $10 million annually from state lottery to the State Parks Heritage Fund to be used for local, regional, and state parks; trails and open spaces; and cultural heritage sites.

It also created a separate Arizona Game & Fish Heritage Fund, with its own $10 million annually from state lottery revenues. The Game & Fish Heritage Fund uses its money to protect and manage habitat for Arizona’s wildlife.

Since the creation of the State Parks Heritage Fund 32 years ago, over $89 million in grants have been reinvested in parks, trails, open spaces, and cultural sites in communities across Arizona. With local matching funds added in, $207 million has been spent in projects statewide.

In 2010, the state legislative majority decided — as part of their plan to address severe budget shortfalls during the Great Recession — to repeal the State Parks Heritage Fund. Over the twelve years since the State Parks Heritage Fund was eliminated, the Fund has lost $120 million that should have been used for parks, trails, and cultural sites in accordance with the wishes of the voters.

In the 2019 legislative session, SB1241 was passed with bipartisan support, and signed into law. While SB1241 put the State Parks Heritage Fund back into statute, it did not restore the annual $10 million from Lottery revenues.

In the 2021 session, Representative Joanne Osborne (LD13) introduced a Bill to finance the Fund. Osborne’s Bill received strong public support as well as bipartisan legislative support. Through the final budget negotiation process between the House, Senate, and Governor in June of 2021, the outcome was a one-time appropriation of $5 million for Fiscal Year 2022.

As the 2022 Legislative Session begins, with large Budget surpluses and the Arizona Lottery encumbrances have been repaid and removed, the Board of the Arizona Heritage Alliance, other heritage and environmental stakeholder groups, and hundreds of Arizonans who have communicated their views to the Legislature believe it is time to reinstate the funding to the State Parks portion of the Heritage Fund.

It is time to make Arizona’s precious heritage whole again – now and into the future.

Russ Jones is a former State Representative from Yuma. He is currently President of the Arizona Heritage Alliance and sits on the Board of Directors for the Arizona Power Authority, dealing with the water and power needs of Arizona.

PRIMER: Arizona State Parks Contribute To Booming Economy

New Provided by Governor of Arizona, September 30, 2021

From Slide Rock to Lost Dutchman to Catalina, Arizona’s state parks are second to none! Camping, hiking, boating, horseback riding — there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy the great outdoors at Arizona’s many state parks.

But the role our parks play goes well beyond mountain trails and pristine lakes. According to recently released numbers, Arizona State Parks and Trails last year supported an estimated 4,200 jobs and contributed $272 million to Arizona’s economy.

Arizona State Parks and Trails, in collaboration with the University of Arizona’s Regional Economic State Park Economic Contribution 06212021 (2) Analysis Program, completed a study on the economic contribution and impacts of Arizona’s state parks for fiscal year 2020.

Highlights from the report:

  • Spending by non-local visitors increased by 20 percent since 2014;

  • Total spending by all visitors to an Arizona state park, including spending in and within 50 miles of parks, exceeded $332 million; and

  • In Mohave County, where parks had the largest economic impact, the parks contributed $83 million in sales and supported 945 jobs.

Governor Ducey took action to make sure state parks remained open to the public during the pandemic, allowing Arizonans and visitors to relax and enjoy the outdoors in a safe and healthy way. This year, the Governor also waived the admission fee to state parks for Easter weekend and ensured that the parks remained open. During that weekend, visitation was up 103 percent compared to 2019, with almost every park seeing an increase in visitors.

Since 2014, there has been a significant increase in overall visits to the parks, along with increased hours of availability and the addition of more park properties. This has led to an increase in visitor spending and an overall positive impact on the state economy.

Residents and visitors to the state continue to choose to explore the great outdoors and the incredible beauty, diversity and opportunity that our parks provide.

Read the full Economic Contribution and Impacts of Arizona State Parks FY2020 report HERE.

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