Arizona Heritage Fund offers a diversity of positive impacts

[Commentary by Rich Glinski, Park Supervisor, Desert Outdoor Center at Lake Pleasant, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department] — While working in the Nongame and Habitat programs at Arizona Game and Fish Department, I had a first-hand opportunity to witness the benefits of Heritage dollars working for wildlife. From gathering data on little known species, to implementing needed wildlife management actions and acquiring important habitat, the Heritage Fund to me represented a means of doing great things for wildlife resources.

After retiring from the AGFD I began managing an educational facility for Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department. The Desert Outdoor Center at Lake Pleasant has given me an opportunity to work with a great variety of interpreters and teachers, many of whom have reaped benefits for kids by involving them with Heritage projects. I have become keenly aware of the wonderful educational opportunities afforded by Heritage dollars.

And as the new and exciting world of parks and recreation has unfolded before me, my formal involvement with the professionals in Arizona Parks and Recreation Association has enhanced further my notion of the broad-reaching influence of Heritage Fund money. From acquiring park lands to providing interpretive signage, Heritage dollars seemingly are always at it, making Arizona a better place to live.

As with my work on wildlife issues, my new connections with education, parks and recreation have made me aware of the diverse array of challenges our great state faces, and how much the Heritage Fund is critical to providing opportunities to meet these challenges. This is especially true with the new economic gloom, which threatens to un-do much of the wonderful production gained by Heritage dollars thus far.

The diversity of impacts that the Heritage Program has spread across Arizona’s landscape is truly impressive. If your life meanderings have not given you the opportunity to assess this first-hand, I hope you will visit the websites of the Heritage Alliance, the Arizona Game and Fish Department, or the Arizona State Parks. Look over the accomplishments, savor them, and then please work hard to protect this opportunity.

Santa Cruz County gets $85,503 for Rio Rico soccer complex

[Source: Nogales International, Kathleen Vandervoet] – – Santa Cruz County was recently awarded $85,503 for the Robert Damon Recreational Complex Soccer Field. The Arizona State Parks Board on Sept. 19 announced awards of more than $41 million in grants from the Arizona Heritage Fund, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the Recreational Trails Grant Fund Program, and the Land Conservation Fund.

The Heritage Fund, created in November 1990, provides up to $10 million annually from Arizona Lottery proceeds. A press release said there are three competitive grant programs offered annually from the Heritage Fund to provide opportunities for the public to enjoy parks and outdoor recreation, and to help preserve natural and cultural resources: Local, Regional and State Parks (LRSP), Historic Preservation, and Trails. The State Parks Board approved a total of $542,293 to six Historic Preservation Heritage Fund grant applicants. [Note: to read the full article click here.]

Cave Creek, Arizona makes plans for open spaces

[Source: Beth Duckett, The Arizona Republic] — From the lush backwoods of Cave Creek Regional Park to the rugged Spur Cross Ranch, Cave Creek is known for its sweeping open spaces.  But with another 8.8 square miles coming inside the town’s borders through annexation this year, Cave Creek faces a dilemma – how to manage its open spaces.  With the plan, town and park officials would steer the use and management of thousands of acres with one document.  Future visitors centers and trail systems would be included in an open-space master plan.

“Planning as a system makes a whole lot more sense,” said Maricopa County Parks Director RJ Cardin.  “It would be a system of open space, rather than a piece of state land there, a piece there.”  The master plan would merge the 2,155-acre Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area, 3,000-acre Cave Creek Regional Park and 4,300 acres of conserved annexation land, plus State Bureau of Land Management and conservation lands.  [Note: to read the full article click here.]

June 7 is National Trails Day

American Hiking Society’s signature trail awareness program, National Trails Day, inspires the public and trail enthusiasts nationwide to seek out their favorite trails to discover, learn about, and celebrate trails while participating in educational exhibits, trail dedications, gear demonstrations, instructional workshops, and trail work projects.  Click here to learn about events in Arizona and other parts of the U.S.