[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.