2023 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation (SCORP) Survey

Dear Arizona recreationists, club and community members:

Arizona State Parks and Trails has launched the 2023 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation (SCORP) public survey! Please help us make sure all interested Arizona outdoor recreationists have a chance to be heard.

Public participation by Arizonans over the age of 18 who recreate outdoors is vitally important. Arizona State Parks and Trails is collecting feedback from user groups, the general public, stakeholders, advocates, and recreation providers to develop outdoor recreation priorities for the state for the next five years.

Included is an 8.5×11 poster that can be emailed, printed and posted or distributed. You can use this poster to urge members of your organization, other members of the public, your communities and networks to provide feedback for this plan. If you would like Arizona State Parks and Trails to print some of these materials to send to your organization, or if you have additional questions about this project, please contact Dawn Collins at 602-542-7128 or scorp@azstateparks.gov.

The survey takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete and is available in English and Spanish. The survey links will be active until December 2021.  Click here to access the survey.

Background:

Every five years, the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) must be updated. This plan gathers information and recommendations to guide the management and funding priorities for outdoor recreation in Arizona. Arizona State Parks and Trails is working with Arizona State University and Partners in Brainstorms to produce a well-informed, inclusive plan that will:

  • Guide the distribution of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and other outdoor recreation-related grants, like the Heritage Fund and the State Lake Improvement Fund.
  • Promote a common understanding of state and regional issues, goals, objectives, and actions impacting outdoor recreation interests.
  • Provide a framework for strengthening collaboration among outdoor recreation advocates, providers, elected officials, and others to be more effective in championing and sustaining Arizona’s outdoor recreation opportunities and economies.

Please share this information and thank you for your participation!

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 

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.