Governor Selects Arizona State Parks and Trails Employee as James W. Garrison Grand Award Winner At Historic Preservation Conference

October 29, 2021

PHOENIX – Arizona State Parks and Trails employee Charles R. Eatherly received the “James W. Garrison Grand Award” during the annual Arizona Historic Preservation Conference on Friday afternoon.

The James W. Garrison Grand Award has been selected by the Governor annually since 1982 and recognizes outstanding achievements in preservation of Arizona’s prehistoric and historic resources. Eatherly reached his 50th anniversary with the agency in June 2021, making him the longest-serving Arizona State Parks and Trails employee.

“The James W. Garrison Award honors its namesake, who served for 24 years as Arizona's state historic preservation officer. To bestow this award on a person who has dedicated 50 years of service to Arizona State Parks and Trails seems a fitting honor," said Governor Doug Ducey. "Charles Eatherly is a testament to servant leadership, and his lifetime commitment to preserving and protecting our amazing state parks is truly something to celebrate."

Eatherly was selected for the grand award from a group of 10 winners of the Governor’s Heritage Honor Preservation Awards. The annual Arizona Historic Preservation Conference is organized by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), a division of Arizona State Parks and Trails. The event offers information and resources for professionals, volunteers, and officials involved in historic preservation, archaeology, cultural resources management, architecture and planning.

The James W. Garrison Grand Award is one of many accolades Eatherly holds. In September, he received the National Association of State Park Directors “President's Award.” The association promotes the state park systems of America and recognizes honorees like Eatherly for their efforts toward improving the quality of life and recreational opportunities in their communities. In August, he received the “Spirit of Service” award during the Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

Charles Eatherly began his career at Arizona State Parks and Trails in 1971, when there were 11 parks in Arizona’s system. Today, the agency oversees more than 30 parks and natural areas.

Eatherly began his career developing and acquiring parks and planning them to best meet the needs of the public and the agency’s mission. He was instrumental to the process of adding parks and natural areas, participating in everything from drafting legislation, land acquisition, serving as legislative liaison, planning and development to opening the parks. Overall, Eatherly has spent 60 years in parks and recreation in the United States.

The James W. Garrison Grand Award was given on Friday, October 29, 2021 during the Arizona Historic Preservation Conference at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Tempe.

Managing and conserving Arizona's natural, cultural and recreational resources for the benefit of the people, both in our parks and through our partners.

For information about the more than 30 Arizona State Parks and Natural Areas, the Trails and Off-Highway Vehicle Programs and State Historic Preservation Office call 1-877-MY-PARKS or visit


PRESS CONTACT: Michelle Thompson at (480) 589-8877- Email: