Arizona-Owned Ranch Set to Become a State Park

Arizona State Parks and Trails plans to make Rockin' River Ranch in Camp Verde its newest state park. | Courtesy of Arizona State Parks and Trails

A Camp Verde ranch that the state of Arizona purchased nearly a decade ago is finally on its way to joining the state's parks system.

As the Associated Press reported this month, the Rockin' River Ranch, along a section of the Verde River that's a haven for bald eagles and native fish species, has sat quietly, mostly used by a horse-boarding concessionaire, since Arizona State Parks bought it for $7 million in 2008. The money for the purchase came from a conservation fund.

Shortly thereafter, the economy tanked, and there was no money to develop the property into a park. The outlook is better now, and the department, now known as Arizona State Parks and Trails, received a $4 million allocation in the new state budget to develop the new park.

Primitive camping and RV sites will be constructed at the 209-acre property this year, the AP reported, with picnic areas, roads and other amenities to come later based on consultants' recommendations and public input. A "soft opening" is expected this year, with a grand opening planned for sometime in 2018.

The Rockin' River features a mile of riverfront, plus cottonwood trees, pastures and desert areas. Camp Verde's mayor told the AP that making the ranch a state park will help preserve the river in its natural state and should attract visitors to the area.

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