After years of operating on solar power and diesel generators, Buckeye Hills Regional Park, a Maricopa County regional park located in the far west valley, has been energized! In 2016, the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation and Facilities Management Departments began the planning process to bring electrical services to the park. However, that effort was stalled due to budget constraints.
“This park seems to be getting more use each year, with the growing popularity of the General Joe Foss Public Shooting Complex and the presence of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Training Range,” stated Maricopa County Board of Supervisor Steve Gallardo, District 5. “Bringing electrical services to the park just makes sense. We want park visitors and our deputies in training to have every resource possible to make the most of their time here.”
The solar power system used at the park to generate power had been designed to use two separate solar photovoltaic systems: one for the public range and one for the Sheriff’s range. The system contained battery back-ups which provided power for lighting, heating and cooling to the facilities. Over the years, it had become costly to replace the batteries and the system had become unreliable. In recent years, diesel generators had been brought in to ensure the facilities had power.
“Until recently, the park had been limited to primitive camping and picnicking opportunities,” added Supervisor Clint Hickman, District 4. “Having power in the park opens up the possibilities of a wide range of recreational opportunities in the park, which will be vetted and considered in a future master plan update.”
As for what residents can expect to see in the near future in the park, the department is currently working with the Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association (ASRPA) to determine how the new service may impact the General Joe Foss public range.
“With the addition of power to the facility and continued popularity of the range, ASRPA will now be operational every weekend on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. They will also look for opportunities to expand days and hours of operation,” added R.J. Cardin, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Director.
To learn more about the General Joe Foss Public Shooting Complex or view the schedule, visit maricopacountyparks.net/park-locator/buckeye-hills-regional-park/.