For the past six years, the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department has been telling park visitors to “take a hike!” While this is one of many activities offered in the county’s regional parks, the department makes a point of stressing these three words to their park visitors on November 17, National Take a Hike Day.
“We understand that National Take a Hike Day isn’t an official holiday; however, National Parks and Recreation Month is in July and that’s when our industry typically promotes outdoor activities,” said R.J. Cardin, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Director. “To ensure park visitor safety, my team shifts our program offerings to the early morning and later evening hours in July to make concessions for the warm climate we live in.”
With temperatures dropping and out-of-town visitors returning to the valley, people are starting to seek out activities that afford them the opportunity to reconnect with nature. “Recognizing National Take a Hike Day is a good fit for our agency since the weather is beautiful in Arizona this time of year! We’ll be waiving the day-use entry fee into all of our regional parks on this day so the community can explore the Sonoran Desert and of course, take a hike,” added Cardin.
In addition, the department kicked off its annual 100 Miles in 100 Days Challenge on November 1. With the launch of the program and the holidays quickly approaching, the free entry day provides a little extra motivation to visit the parks, take ranger-led hikes, and log additional miles.
“We are fortunate to live in a county that is not only growing quickly, but is developing in a smart way that preserves and invests in approximately 120,000 acres of open space, including the Maricopa Trail connecting our beautiful parks,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates, District 3. “I encourage you to take the challenge, hit the trail, and recharge in our county parks this fall.”
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 National Take a Hike Day, the $7 per vehicle day-use entry fee will be waived at all of Maricopa County’s regional parks on Sunday, November 17, 2019, all other fees apply.
For more information on National Take a Hike Day or to locate a Maricopa County regional park near you, visit www.maricopacountyparks.net.