Shhh, we have a secret to share with you! Has anyone ever told you that there is one day a year where it is perfectly acceptable to tell others to “take a hike?” Better yet, are you aware that this brazen day is fast approaching?
The Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department is inviting the community to join them in recognizing National Take a Hike Day on Saturday, November 17, by telling everybody they know to “take a hike” in a Maricopa County regional park. To ensure everyone is able to join in on the fun, the department will waive the $7 per vehicle day-use park entry fee into all of the county’s regional parks.
In addition to recognizing National Take a Hike Day, the department is also celebrating the completion of Phase 1 of the Maricopa Trail. The main celebration will take place at Cave Creek Regional Park located at 37900 E. Cave Creek Parkway in Cave Creek from 10 am to noon on Saturday, November 17.
“Phase 1 of the Maricopa Trail is now complete. This is a huge achievement for our Parks Department and a cause worthy of celebration for our residents,” said Steve Chucri, District 2, Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. “This investment in a 315-mile trail links all of our regional parks, connects us to nature and connects us to one another.”
“I’m proud of the vision it took to create the Maricopa Trail, the partnerships that have allowed that vision to move forward, and the diligent, skilled work that has made that vision a reality,” said Supervisor Bill Gates, District 3. “Open space is one of the most valuable assets we have in Maricopa County and I think it’s fitting that we celebrate this milestone on National Take a Hike Day.”
Partnerships with agencies such as Tonto National Forest, the Bureau of Land Management, numerous local cities, towns and county departments have helped to reduce construction costs and accelerate the completion time by utilizing existing trail segments, right-of-ways, canals, parks, utility corridors, and flood control projects.
Additionally, relationships with businesses such as Arizona Forward, REI, Central Arizona Conservation Alliance and many more have helped heighten awareness of the trail system. “Our members are always looking for new recreational opportunities, and AARP is excited to help promote the Maricopa Trail on National Take a Hike Day,” added Paula Wright, AARP AZ associate state director.
“To help us celebrate, we have invited several partners who have been a part of the journey with us from start to finish to be a part of the grand opening. And, as Supervisor Chucri mentioned, the Maricopa Trail links to all of our regional parks so our rangers will be offering guided hikes and programs to help us celebrate this momentous occasion systemwide,” stated R.J. Cardin, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation director.
Hikes and programs taking place in the regional parks include:
· Cave Creek Regional Park: National Take a Hike Day and Maricopa Trail Dedication / Rangers will be providing guided hikes immediately following the grand opening.
· Lake Pleasant Regional Park: Do You Remember? Fun Family Discovery Center Program
· Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area: Desert Discovery Day in the Jewel of the Creek Preserve
· Usery Mountain Regional Park: Take a Hike with the Ranger
“As the various segments of the trail have been completed over the years, our team of volunteers have worked closely with the department to promote and maintain the Maricopa Trail. We are very proud of the trail system and all who have worked so hard to complete this project,” added Brian Derrick, Maricopa Trail and Park Foundation president.
Park visitors are reminded that although temperatures may be cooler, appropriate hiking attire, sunscreen and an ample supply of water are still necessary for all activities. In recognition of Take a Hike Day, the $7 per vehicle day-use entry fee will be waived at all of Maricopa County’s regional parks on Saturday, November 17, 2018, all other fees apply.
For more information on National Take a Hike Day, the Maricopa Trail celebrations, trail maps and park locations, visit either www.maricopacountyparks.net/things-to-do/activity/grand-opening-celebration/or www.maricopacountyparks.net.