Following a series of closures and restrictions amid the Great Recession, Arizona State Parks and Trails is back up to full speed.
As of March 1, Oracle State Park north of Tucson is open seven days per week, the department announced. The park is the last in the state parks system to fully reopen to the public after restrictions were put in place starting in 2009. It reopened in 2012, but with limited hours.
"We are thrilled that Oracle State Park is going to be open every day," said Sue Black, executive director of Arizona State Parks and Trails. "The community of Oracle is growing, and this park is a significant piece of this economic development."
The 4,000-acre park offers monthly environmental programs, including hikes and lectures, and features a 15-mile network of trails. It's a haven for a variety of plant and animal species, and its location, in the northern foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, is also ideal for stargazing. In 2014, the International Dark-Sky Association designated the park an International Dark-Sky Park.
The parks system had record attendance and revenue in 2016, according to the news release, and continues to operate without appropriations from Arizona's general fund.
Governor Doug Ducey said the state's parks "are points of state and community pride and bring economic benefits to communities across the state," adding that forward thinking and innovative management have helped the parks prosper.
Oracle State Park is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. For more information, call 520-896-2425 or visit www.azstateparks.com/oracle.