Article by Jim McPherson, President of the Arizona Preservation Foundation and Vice-President of the Arizona Heritage Alliance – July 6, 2022.
While the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund appropriations was cut in half from $5 million last fiscal year to $2.5 million this fiscal year, the State Legislature and Governor approved other significant funding for parks, trails, historic preservation, and wildlife conservation. Over and above funding for the staffing and operations of Arizona Game & Fish and Arizona State Parks & Trails (the two state agencies that the Arizona Heritage Alliance advocates for every day), investments were made for the following initiatives:
- Historic Resources: Arizona Historical Society; Arizona Mining, Mineral & National Resources Museum; Arizona Pioneers’ Home; Fort Whipple Homeless Veterans Housing; Prescott Historical Society; State Capitol Renovations; historic building renovations at Jerome State Historic Park, Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park, and Tonto Natural Bridge State Park; Arizona Dude Ranch Registry; and State Archives Born Digital Record Preservation Study.
- Natural Resources: Arizona Trail; campground, solar shade, smartphone accessibility, and water conservation projects at state parks statewide; specific improvements at Catalina State Park, Dead Horse State Park, and Rockin’ River Ranch State Park; and mitigation of drought conditions affecting wildlife and sportsfish.
In addition, the Alliance has always supported the leveraging of funds from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) with all related grant programs managed by state and local governments. The Alliance applauds the recent announcement by the U.S. Department of the Interior that $5,695,464 from the LWCF will be invested in Arizona for outdoor recreation and conservation efforts, strengthening public lands and waters, building new outdoor spaces, and expanding access to outdoor recreation.
The Alliance thanks the thousands of Arizonans who called, wrote, emailed, texted, and used the Legislature’s Request to Speak service this past legislative session to voice their support of the State Parks Heritage Fund and Arizona’s historic and natural resources overall.