With the Easter holiday approaching, beautiful outdoor weather and the wildflowers and trees in full bloom, Maricopa County residents are looking forward to escaping to the great outdoors. Holiday weekends are among the busiest times for residents seeking outdoor spaces for family picnics and gatherings. Maricopa County’s regional parks remain open and are operating with limited services and capacity limits to adhere to physical-distancing guidelines and Governor Ducey’s Executive Orders.
“Exercise and fresh air play an important role in keeping us healthy and everyone is anxious to get outside,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Clint Hickman, District 4. “However, Dr. Sunenshine and our experts at Public Health have reminded all of us that we have to be responsible about the threat of spread outdoors as well. We urge people to do their research, be responsible when seeking outdoor areas and have a backup plan in case the location they’ve selected is congested. Please don’t put yourself or others at risk”
R.J. Cardin, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department Director concurs. “If you find yourself at a crowded trailhead or area in the park, please find an alternate location. Fortunately our department manages the Maricopa Trail which is a 315-mile trail system that links our regional parks together. There are quite a few connections and trailheads from neighborhoods to the trail where you can walk your dog or take a bike ride with your family.”
Here’s what visitors need to know before heading out to Maricopa County’s regional parks:
- Park hours have changed. Mountain parks are open from 6 am to 6 pm. Lake Pleasant Regional Park is open from 6 am to 8 pm and the Hassayampa River Preserve is now open Thursday through Sunday.
- Facility closures. The nature centers, group picnic areas and park playgrounds are closed. Restrooms in closed areas remain locked. The northern entrance/area at Lake Pleasant Regional Park, Waterfall Trail at White Tank Mountain Regional Park and Goldmine Trailhead at San Tan Mountain Regional Park are also closed.
- Camping. Primitive, shoreline or boat camping at Lake Pleasant Regional Park is prohibited. Reserved campsites are still available but residents are strongly encouraged to secure a reservation before heading to a park. It is anticipated that campgrounds will be full this weekend.
- Limited day-use capacity. Once a park has reached limited capacity, the entrance into the park will be restricted to a one-out, one-in practice or close completely and reopen when capacity is at a safe number again. Visitors should expect delays and long lines.
Here are some tips on how you can recreate safely over the weekend.
- Physical distancing. Ensure that there are six to eight feet between you and others. Please respect the health of others!
- Stay close to home. BBQ with your loved ones. Hide eggs around the yard. Take the dog for a walk and visit with your neighbors from a safe distance.
- Try a new park or hiking path that is less traveled. Maricopa County’s regional park system offers more than 500 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding.
- Personal supplies. Bring water, hand sanitizer, toiletries, snacks and sunscreen. You will not be able to purchase items at the park.
- Trash and pet waste. Please clean-up after your pets. Give your land a hand and practice responsible stewardship of your county parks.
Stay home if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. Let’s work together to help stop the spread!
To learn more about the Maricopa Trail or download a map, visit https://www.maricopacountyparks.net/things-to-do/activity/maps/. For additional information, visit www.maricopacountyparks.net.