Gold Medal

In less than three years, Arizona State Parks & Trails has transformed into a self-sustaining Enterprise Business with record attendance and revenue. On September 26, 2017, Arizona State Parks & Trails won the Gold Medal for best managed state park system in the nation from the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association.

Follow the Gold Medal on Tour

Arizona State Parks & Trails staff presents the Gold Medal to Governor Ducey

Presenting Arizona Senate President, Steve Yarbrough with the Gold Medal

Presenting Arizona Speaker of the House, Javan Mesnard with the Gold Medal

The medal will visit each State Park in Arizona, but it's already going places...

ASPT Executive Director, Sue Black & Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke.
















Presenting Secretary of the Interior Zinke with the Gold Medal

Presenting Grand Canyon Nationa Park Superintendent, Chris Lehnertz with the Gold Medal

Japanese tourists show the Gold Medal spirit at Mather Point, Grand Canyon.

International visitors admiring the award

About the Gold Medal

The Gold Medal Award honors communities throughout the United States that demonstrate excellence in long-range planning, resource management and innovative approaches to delivering superb park and recreation services with fiscally sound business practices.

The Gold Medal Award Program includes seven classes: five classes based upon population, one class for armed forces recreation and one class for state park systems in odd numbered years. At the beginning of each calendar year, agencies are invited to submit applications for consideration, with a deadline of mid-March. Finalists were announced at the end of April, and the Grand Award recipient was announced at the NRPA Annual Conference on September 26 in New Orleans, La.

A panel of five park and recreation professionals reviewed and judged all application materials. Judges are chosen for their considerable experience and knowledge in parks and recreation on both local and national levels.

Gold Medal Video

Arizona State Parks & Trails submission to the National Recreation & Parks Association (NRPA) 2017 Gold Medal awards, representing one of the four "Best Managed State Park Systems" in the country.

Highlights from the video include:

o    No General Fund - Parks uses "Enterprise Business" model to run at the speed of business

o    Havasu Riviera State Park - Our newest park along Arizona's "West Coast", located along the crystal blue waters of the Colorado River & Lake Havasu will offer a variety of expanded recreational activities for visitors.

o    Rockin' River Ranch State Park - Situated in Camp Verde, on 209-acres along the Verde River in central Arizona, this park will offer campers, hikers and equestrian enthusiasts a wonderland of amenities.

o    Governor Doug Ducey was the first Arizona Governor to appoint a State Parks Director. Together, they Initiated "agency-wide" Lean-based Arizona Management System (AMS),  that allows agencies to measure, correct & grow their operations like never before.
o    Opened Arizona's first Memorial State Park - Granite Mountain Hotshots.
o    Created Arizona's first Outdoor Recreation Information Center at our new Central Office located in North Central Phoenix. Here visitors can pick up free information, make camping reservations, renew Fish & Game licenses, preview new Park Store merchandise & get assistance planning their Arizona adventure.
o    Society of Outdoor Recreational Professionals (SORP) - Project Excellence Award - Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park

o    Arizona State Parks & Trails - Selected to host 2018 National State Parks Directors Conference (NASPD)

o    Kartchner Caverns named "Best Cave" by USA Today’s Reader’s Choice

o    Slide Rock State Park voted "10 Best Water Holes in the US" by USA Today Readers Poll

o    1st State Park agency in the U.S. to apply for accreditation from the Commission for Accreditation of Park & Recreation Agencies (CAPRA)
o    Oracle State Park certified by International Dark Skies Association - Park hosts regular Star Parties with local astronomy groups attracted by some of the darkest skies in the world for celestial viewing. 
o    Working with Arizona-based Cavco Industries to meet the demand for expanded camping accommodations. This private company will build/install 100 NEW cabins for a percentage of resulting revenue.



Outdoor Recreation Info Center
Visitors Welcome!
23751 N. 23rd Ave. #190
Phoenix, AZ 85085

 (877) MY-PARKS

Mission Statement
"Managing and conserving Arizona's natural, cultural and recreational resources for the benefit of the people, both in our Parks and through our Partners."