The Arizona Trail is the only National Scenic Trail in the U.S. that doesn’t consistently receive state funding. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, a bill in the legislature would allocate a $250,000 for maintenance and improvement projects.
HB2594 would tap the state’s general fund for the next fiscal year under the Arizona Parks and Trails department. State support for the Arizona Trail is currently determined by appropriations committees in the House and Senate, but lawmakers have only designated money three times in the last 14 years. The trail mostly depends on private donations, grants and business partners.
"I think it’s time that we as the state of Arizona invest in our tourism and also maintaining our beautiful environment. This is kind of a start to establish a funding source for them," says Southern Arizona Democratic Representative Rosanna Gabaldón who introduced the bill.
If the legislation becomes law, the funds would have to be renewed for future years. The bill is currently in committee before possible consideration by the full House.
The 800-mile Arizona Trail is one of 11 federally designated National Scenic Trails. It stretches from the U.S.-Mexico border to the Utah state line, and several hundred hikers and cyclists complete the journey each year.