Times Spent Outdoors: Priceless!

From the Director:

Bryan Martyn

The last half of this year I embarked upon a journey throughout Arizona to the majority of our State Parks. The journey was called "The Director's Campout Series." The idea was to get out to the parks. I wanted to see and experience the treasures of our State Parks' system, to camp and hike and explore, to talk and listen, to interact with our customers, volunteers, camp hosts and Rangers. I wanted to use the facilities, the bathrooms, the showers, the ramadas, the fire pits, the lakes, the streams and the trails. I wanted to experience the parks as our customers experience the parks. I discovered far more than I thought I would.

Arizona is an amazing state. Living all over the world for more than 20 years in the military, I have seen some incredibly beautiful places. From Europe, to Asia, to the Middle East and across America, I've truly ventured far and wide. There is no place on the planet that boasts the diverse beauty of Arizona.

More than re-discovering Arizona's natural beauty, I discovered an amazing passion among those who come to Arizona. People REALLY love this state. They come from all over the world to vacation, hike, explore, live and work. They appreciate all that Arizona has to offer and return again and again.

This year's Federal Government shutdown took place during my Campout Series. It was amazing to see first-hand the reaction of our state's guests and the impact upon Federal Park employees and local businesses. (Arizona State Parks remained open as we are a State entity and not Federal). Make no mistake, outdoor recreation and tourism drives the economies of rural Arizona. People from all over the world want to spend their time and money in Arizona's outdoors. As Arizonans, we need to ensure we protect and promote our outdoor treasures. We must make every effort to preserve our deserts, forests, lakes, rivers, streams and trails. President Theodore Roosevelt said it best, "Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children's children."

In this new year, I'd like to encourage all Arizonans to make the time to explore outdoor Arizona. We are blessed with natural, historic and cultural treasures like none in the world. Step away from your computer, smart pad and TV. Nobody ever remembers their best day of computer games. Everyone remembers their best days spent outdoors. See you in the parks!

Publishers Note: One of the goals of the Arizona State Parks Department is to engage residents in conserving these resources for many generations into the future.


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