Arizona State Parks and Trails Wins National Award

Catalina State Park, near Tucson, is one of Arizona State Parks and Trails' spectacular destinations. | Joanne Sensabaugh

A national organization has deemed Arizona's state parks system the best in the country, Arizona State Parks and Trails announced last week.

The state agency won the National Recreation and Park Association's gold medal for best managed state-park system at the NRPA's annual conference in New Orleans. Arizona beat out three other finalists, its counterparts in Tennessee, Washington state and Wyoming.

Sue Black, the executive director of Arizona State Parks and Trails, said the organization's staff is only part of the reason for the award. "This is about everyone in Arizona who contributes to our success or gets to enjoy our beautiful parks," she said in a news release. "It's a huge honor ... and we hope everyone will get out and see these amazing parks first-hand."

Governor Doug Ducey added that the award "is a tremendous achievement that benefits everyone in our state — from residents to tourists."

In other state-park-related news, Arizona State Parks and Trails will soon accept applications for funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to create or improve outdoor recreation sites. Applicants can request up to $200,000 for a project.

The grant cycle opens October 10 and is limited to governmental entities, such as cities, counties, tribal governments and state and federal agencies. For more information, visit

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