Arizona State Parks protects and preserves 35 State Parks and Natural Areas. The agency also includes the State Trails Program, outdoor-related Grants Program, statewide outdoor recreation planning, the State Historic Preservation Office, as well as the Off-Highway Vehicle Program and more. Arizona State Parks manages eight of the top 25 most visited natural attractions in Arizona.
Download the latest issue of our statewide guide for what to do and where to go: Arizona State Parks & Trails Green Guide
The purpose of the 2020 Arizona Trails Plan is to gather information and recommendations to guide Arizona State Parks and Trails (ASPT), other land management agencies, and stakeholders in the management and resource distribution related to motorized and non-motorized trails in the state of Arizona. It should further guide the distribution and expenditures of the Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Fund (A.R.S § 28-1176) and the federal Recreational Trails Program (23 U.S.C. 206). The Arizona Trails Plan is updated every five years to comply with the requirements set forth in A.R.S. § 41-511.22 and A.R.S. § 41-511.04 . The plan’s information can also be used to 1) promote a common understanding of statewide, regional and local issues and the potential solutions affecting all trail interests; 2) recommend funding priorities and actions to improve and maintain Arizona’s trails and routes; and 3) provide a framework for strengthening the roles of trail and OHV advocates, managers, stakeholders, and elected officials to be more effective in sustaining Arizona’s trail heritage and adding responsibly to it.
Arizona County Supplement Reports
As a complement to the Arizona State Parks 2020 Trails Plan, this study estimates Arizonans’ demand for trail use and the economic value of motorized and non-motorized trail use to Arizona residents using the travel cost method. Trail use includes the use of trails managed by Arizona State Parks, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and other land management agencies for both non-motorized and motorized uses. Non-motorized uses include walking, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding/equestrian use, among others, and motorized uses include dirt biking, ATV use, UTV use, side-by-side use, and four-wheeling, among others. Additionally, the study includes the development of an origin-destination matrix estimating Arizonans’ travel for trail-based recreation. This can offer important insight for communities looking to develop or expand their own trail systems, or to inform tourism marketing for communities hoping to attract visitors.
The 2018 SCORP includes research on Arizona’s outdoor recreation situation, national trends, and other influences. Special sections include outdoor recreation and tourism, wildlife-related recreation, and reports on trails, off-highway vehicles, boating, and cultural resources.
The 2018 SCORP is available for download below:
2018-2022 SCORP Report - Final
The 2013 SCORP includes research on Arizona’s outdoor recreation participation, national trends, and other influences. Special sections include the benefits of parks and recreation, outdoor recreation and tourism, wildlife-related recreation, and reports on trails, off-highway vehicles, boating, and cultural resources.
The 2013 SCORP also features the results of an online survey with Arizona’s parks and recreation providers and land managing agencies. Other survey results highlight changes that have occurred from the perspective of outdoor recreation users in Arizona during the last five years. The 2013 SCORP is available for download as one document below:
Complete 2013-2017 SCORP Report
References and Appendices
Through regular feedback we solicit from our visitors and stakeholders, key plans are created that encompass the full spectrum of recreational opportunities. This data is prioritized to provide direction for all our providers, public and private, and at all levels of government.
• 2014 Economic Impact Report • 2015 Trails Plan
• 2016 Boating Watercraft Survey • 2016 OHV Sticker Fund Report
• 2018 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP)
• 2018-2022 Strategic Plan
These plans inform the Six-2030 Agency Master Plan, a long-term document that sets overall agency direction for the next twelve years, consistent with statewide plans and priorities. Progress towards agency directives identified in the master plan takes place through the implementation strategies identified in the 2018 Arizona State Parks and Trails Strategic Plan.
Arizona State Parks staff, in collaboration with Arizona State University, conducted a series of surveys to find out about which types of motorized or non-motorized trails the public uses, how often they use trails, trails preferences and how land managers should improve trail experiences through their time, money, and efforts.
After analyzing the results of this year-long public involvement effort, Arizona State Parks staff drafted a trails plan that provides information about trail users, their preferences, opinions, and important issues facing recreational trails and off-highway vehicle routes in Arizona. The plan also offers a list of recommendations and priority actions that both trail advocates and land managers can implement in order to protect and improve Arizona's thousands of miles of motorized and non-motorized trails.
Some of the top trail issues for motorized and non-motorized users were litter and trash dumping, closure of trails, and keeping trails in good condition. The priority recommendations listed in the plan will be used to develop grant rating criteria and distribute monies from the Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Fund and the federal Recreational Trails Program.
In 2018, Arizona State Parks and Trails Off-Highway Vehicle Program partnered with Arizona State University to look at the economic impact of off-highway vehicle use in Arizona. This report highlights the findings of the study and captures information on spending habits, where people enjoy riding, and the overall impact the sport has our economy.
Prepared by: Behavior Research Center, Inc. June 2016
Prepared for: Arizona Game & Fish Department and Arizona State Parks and Trails
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), the Arizona Game & Fish Department (AGFD) and the Arizona State Parks Board (ASPB) conduct a study every three years on recreational watercraft usage and priorities. The primary purposes of this effort are as follows:
The information on recreational watercraft usage patterns on Arizona’s lakes and rivers are necessary to plan for enforcement activities and resource allocation.
Arizona State Parks and Trails worked with Arizona State University and other stakeholders to draft the new Arizona State Parks and Trails Strategic Plan. The priorities and focus areas of this plan are consistent with the issues and priorities identified in the 2018 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan.
This plan reflects the agency’s goal of responsible fiscal management combined with explosive growth statewide. To reflect this, the plan is organized around a key pillar of Optimization of System Vitality.
We are linking our goals and objectives to nationally-identified priorities and community impacts to ensure that we are drawing on best practices and our efforts are consistent with our colleagues across the nation. The identified goals and objectives focus on the National Recreation and Parks Association’s three pillars: Social Equity, Conservation, and Thriving Individuals and Communities.
In order to accomplish the goals and objectives in this plan, we are focusing on operations and development, resources (natural, cultural, human, and financial), economic impacts for communities, programs, and partnerships. Using these categories as a guide, we will implement strategies that move our agency forward in innovative and creative ways.
In the last 55 years, 32 parks have been added to the state parks system and many different programs are now being managed by the agency. Federal grant programs include the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Recreational Trails Programs, which include both motorized and nonmotorized divisions, and the Federal Historic Preservation Grant Program.
The state grant programs include the State Lake Improvement Fund, recently eliminated Heritage Fund *$10 million for rural communities, Law Enforcement and Boating Safety Fund (transferred to Arizona Game & Fish Department in 2011), and voter protected Land Conservation Fund ($20 million per year), which ended in 2011. Grants will be distributed from that Fund until the monies are disbursed. Another statewide program, the State Historic Preservation Office, was added to the agency in 1982 and assists private citizens, private institutions, local governments, tribes, and state and federal agencies in the identification, evaluation, protection, and enhancement of historic and archaeological properties that have significance for local communities, the state of Arizona, or the nation. The role and function of the SHPO is defined in both state law (Arizona Historic Preservation Act) and federal law (National Historic Preservation Act, as amended).
Arizona State Parks Economic Impact Report
Prepared by the Arizona Hospitality Research & Resource Center, Center for Business Outreach, The W. A. Franke College of Business, Northern Arizona University.
The estimated total economic impact of all Arizona state parks on the state has also been modeled in this study using IMPLAN. To perform this analysis, visitor spending in the parks was combined from all parks by sector.
It was estimated that Arizona State Parks' visitors spent a total of $209,722,879 in FY14. These total direct expenditures of $209.7 million resulted in an estimated $130,063,972 indirect impacts, $40,451,170 of estimated indirect impacts, and $56,222,368 of estimated induced impacts. When the effects of direct, indirect and induced impacts are combined, the total estimated impact of visitors to state parks in Arizona during FY14 is $226,737,510. This total state impact resulted in 1,621 estimated direct jobs and 745 indirect jobs for a total of 2,367 jobs.
Finally, visitors’ expenditures combined with their direct, indirect, and induced impacts resulted in an estimated $17,550,855 in federal government taxes and an estimated $15,895,473 in state and local government taxes. The total estimated tax impact of Arizona state park visitors in FY14 was $33,446,328.
State Parks Board report to the Arizona Legislature regarding Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) funds.