The Arizona State Parks Board was established by Laws 1957, Chapter 99. Current authority is found in A.R.S. §§41-511 to 41-511.23
The State Parks Board was created to “select, acquire, preserve, establish and maintain areas of natural features, scenic beauty, historical and scientific interest, and zoos and botanical gardens, for the education, pleasure, recreation, and health of the people, and for such other purposes as may be prescribed by law.” Laws 1957, Chapter 99 - Purposes; objectives.
The Board manages a total of 30 state recreational parks, historic parks and natural areas and is responsible for their maintenance and operation. The Board is also responsible for new park acquisition, recreational planning and historic preservation; the state historic preservation program; projects funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the State Lake Improvement Fund; and the off-highway vehicle recreational plan. See www.azauditor.gov Performance Audit #12-04 and Highlights.
The Board consists of seven members. The State Land Commissioner serves on the Board and the remaining members are appointed to six-year terms by the Governor.
Laws 1957, Chapter 99 created the Arizona State Parks Board, consisting of seven members. The State Land Commissioner served on the Board and the remaining members were appointed by the Governor. Two members represented the livestock industry and one member was professionally engaged in general recreation work. The measure required the Board to select areas of scenic beauty, natural features and historical significance for management, operation and further development as state parks and historical monuments. The measure outlined Board duties, including authority to acquire land; established the State Parks Fund, consisting of gifts, donations, bequests and endowments; established penalties for damaging, defacing or destroying property within a state park or monument; and appropriated $30,000 to the Board. The Board was authorized to employ a full-time director. Finally, the measure transferred all authority of the Arizona Development Board to administer state parks, recreational properties and programs to the Arizona State Parks Board.
Note: The Arizona Development Board, created by Laws 1954, Chapter 113, consisted of 14 members representing each county. The objective of the Development Board was to attract tourists, new residents and new commercial industries to Arizona; advertise the resort and recreational advantages of Arizona; and publicize Arizona’s facilities, resources and possibilities. The Arizona Development Board was repealed and its functions were placed in the Department of Economic Planning and Development by Laws 1968, Chapter 207.
Laws 1965, Chapter 68 established the Arizona Outdoor Recreation Coordinating Commission (AORCC), to plan, coordinate and administer an outdoor recreation program for the state. The measure authorized the state’s participation in the federal “Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965” and allowed AORCC to accept and disburse federal monies allocated to the state under the Act. The measure also appropriated $30,000 to AORCC to implement the program and to be available as matching monies for federal disbursements to the state.
Laws 1974, Chapter 106, required the Board to maintain an Arizona register of historical places. In order for a site to be placed on the register, a nomination had to be submitted to the Board and a favorable vote of the Arizona Historical Sites Review Committee of the Arizona Historical Advisory Commission was required.
Laws 1975, Chapter 130 authorized the Board to appoint Park Ranger Law Enforcement Officers in order to protect parks and monuments. Officers were required to have law enforcement training and were prohibited from participating in the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System. Note: In 2001, officers were allowed to participate in the PSPRS. See Laws 2001, Chapter 353.
Laws 1977, Chapter 144 established the position of the State Historic Preservation Officer and authorized the SHPO to review applications for historic designation and approve or deny the application.
The SHPO position was expanded by Laws 1982, Chapter 156 which also established the state historic preservation program. The measure required the chief administrator of each state agency to consider the use of historic properties which are owned, controlled or available to the agency and to cooperate with the SHPO to locate, inventory and nominate property that qualifies for nomination to the Arizona register of historic places. The measure expanded the responsibilities of the Historical Advisory Commission and established a nine-member Historic Sites Review Committee to serve as a standing committee of the Commission. The measure also defined ‘historic property’ for taxation purposes and prescribed a valuation basis for certain property.
Laws 1984, Chapter 182 modified the responsibilities of the Board and AORCC and outlined the process to fund projects with monies from the State Lake Improvement Fund.
Laws 1989, Chapter 204 required the Board to establish a trails system plan to identify the general location and extent of significant trail routes, areas and complementary facilities. The measure also established the State Trail Grant Fund, administered by the Board for special trail projects.
A second measure enacted in 1989 established the Arizona Conservation Corps Commission to provide employment and opportunities for personal development to young adults by developing and implementing projects to enhance, conserve and develop state resources. Laws 1989, Chapter 287, Section 1 – Purpose. The State Parks Board provided staff assistance and support services to the Commission and the Director of the Parks Board served on the Commission.
In 1990, Proposition 200 established the State Parks Board Heritage Fund and the Arizona Game and Fish Commission Heritage Fund. The measure provided up to $10 million annually of state lottery revenues to each fund to preserve, protect and enhance natural and cultural heritage, wildlife, biological diversity, scenic environment, and to provide opportunities for outdoor recreation. It was approved by the electors at the November 6, 1990 general election. Monies were allocated on a percentage basis for trails, parks, outdoor recreation, open space, natural areas, park acquisition and development, historic preservation projects, and environmental education.
Laws 1991, Chapter 42 required the Arizona Game and Fish Commission and the Arizona State Parks Board to provide annual reports to the Legislature on expenditures from the Heritage Fund.
Laws 1997, Chapter 261 established the Conservation Acquisition Board and the Land Conservation Fund.
Proposition 303, based on Laws 1998, HCR 2027, relating to land use and conservation, was approved by the electors at the November 3, 1998 general election. The measure allocated $20 million a year from the state general fund to the Land Conservation Fund. The annual allocation ended in 2011. The Growing Smarter Act outlined comprehensive land use planning and zoning reforms and provided for acquisition and preservation of open spaces in areas of high growth.
Laws 2006, Chapter 374 established the Arizona Trail as a state scenic trail to memorialize former Congressman Bob Stump. The measure outlined Board responsibilities relating to planning, establishing, developing, maintaining and preserving the trail and established the Arizona Trail Fund. The Fund is administered by the Board and used to maintain and preserve the Arizona Trail.
Laws 2010, Seventh Special Session, Chapter 12 redirected the distribution of lottery monies from the Heritage Fund to the state general fund and repealed the Arizona State P arks Board Heritage Fund statutory provisions.
Laws 2012, Chapter 303 established the State Parks Revenue Fund to be used for park operations, maintenance, acquisition and development.
Laws 2019, Chapter 304 restored the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund, consisting of legislative appropriations, grants and donations. Monies in the Fund are allocated on a percentage basis for outdoor recreation and open space development, restoration or renovation; historic preservation projects; nonmotorized trails; and outdoor and environmental education.
- A.R.S. §§ 41-511 to 41-511.23
- Session Laws: Laws 1957, Chapter 99
- Laws 1954, Chapter 113
- Laws 1957, Chapter 99
- Laws 1965, Chapter 68
- Laws 1968, Chapter 207
- Laws 1974, Chapter 106
- Laws 1975, Chapter 130
- Laws 1977, Chapter 144
- Laws 1982, Chapter 156
- Laws 1984, Chapter 182
- Laws 1989, Chapter 204 and Chapter 287
- Laws 1991, Chapter 42
- Laws 1997, Chapter 261
- Laws 1998, H.C.R. 2027
- Laws 2001, Chapter 353
- Laws 2006, Chapter 374
- Laws 2010, Seventh Special Session, Chapter 12
- Laws 2012, Chapter 303
- Laws 2019, Chapter 304
1990 Ballot Proposition 200
1998 Ballot Proposition 303
Arizona Auditor General performance audits
Arizona State Parks Board Performance Audit and Sunset Review Report No. 12-04
Arizona State Parks Board Members
Arizona State Parks Board History