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Numbers Tell of Successful Reopening of Oracle State Park

By Mary Ann Pogany, President, Friends of Oracle State Park

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The reopening this spring of Oracle State Park Center for Environmental Education, though limited to Saturdays only, was an unconditional success by all measures.

During the 13 Saturdays of February, March, and April, more than 3,200 visitors of all ages enjoyed the park trails, vistas, ranch house, and scheduled activities; 513 school kids participated in more than a dozen park environmental education programs; and $6,100 in revenue was collected including $1200 in annual state park passes sold at the entrance gate.

We expect to see the same or better numbers in the fall when the park reopens on Saturdays in September, October, and November.

After being closed for more than two years due to the state budget crisis, the park reopened on September 4 with a bang. A thousand people flocked through the gates, demonstrating the park's importance to businesses in the local community, outdoor enthusiasts across the entire region, and area corporations.

The celebration was the culmination of hard work and donated dollars. Friends of Oracle State Park, a non-profit organization, put on two big events, a golf outing at SaddleBrooke Ranch and a Wine-Tasting and Cheese Party at the park. These events brought in nearly $6,000 to help offset the $10,500 which Friends provided to state parks as part of the $21,000 committed in a partnership agreement to get the park open.

Throughout the three months, dozens of park volunteers gave thousands of hours putting together programs, presentations, and workshops; organizing guided hikes and ranch house tours; taking classes to teach school programs; greeting visitors at the gatehouse, and putting together a spectacular line-up of Earth Day Saturday activities.

On-site ranger, Jennifer Rinio, coordinated events while re-energizing school program participation.

Friends of Oracle State Park is excited about these outstanding successes. It is gratifying that the hard work by all has paid off. With such outstanding support, we have exceeded all expectations. There is no question that the public values our park.

Now, we begin work on programs and fund-raising events for the fall season. More Friends members and more park volunteers are always welcome. Learn more about the park at www.azstateparks.com. Visit the following web links:

Photo credits (clockwise)
1. John Hernandez/CopperArea.com
2. Arizona Foothills Magazine
3-4. Karl Pogany
5. Oracle State Park