Maricopa County Parks and Recreation

Park Rules

Adopted August 13, 2003 by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors
Revised January 13, 2016 by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors

The following definitions shall determine meanings for certain facilities, objects, entities or activities.

  1. “Abandoned Vehicle” means any vehicle, boat, trailer, or structure, which shows evidence of being left unattended for a period of 48 hours unless displaying an official permit indicating a stay in excess of 48 hours.
  2. “Aircraft” means a structure or device for navigation of the air that is supported either by its own buoyancy or by the dynamic action of the air against its surface.
  3. “Camping” means erecting a tent or shelter or arranging bedding, or both, for the purpose of, or in such a way as will permit, overnight use; or parking a trailer camper or other vehicle for the purpose of remaining overnight.
  4. “Commission” means the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Commission.
  5. “County” means Maricopa County.
  6. “Department” means the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department.
  7. “Loudspeaker or public address system” means a device to amplify or direct sound.
  8. “Maricopa County Park(s)” means any land or areas under the control of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors which has been designated as a Park, Recreation Area or Conservation Area.
  9. “Roads” means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way when any part thereof is open, kept or maintained for use by the public for purposes of vehicular travel.
  10. “Special Use Permit” means commercial or non-commercial permits issued by the Department for activities outside a park’s activity design or which excludes the general public or for which there is monetary gain.
  11. “Swimming” means to propel one’s self in water by natural means; consequently aquatic activities including the full or partial use of inner tubes, air mattresses or personal support devices.
  12. “Designated Trail” means an authorized recreational trail designed, constructed, and maintained according to standards within the county manual; it is within Maricopa County Parks’ boundaries and has been included in the Maricopa County Park trail system inventory.


  1. Special Use Permits shall be required for eligible non-profit, government or private, as well as commercial uses.
  2. For eligible non-profit uses, a Special Use Permit is required of any person or group for any activity outside each park’s activity design, or for the use of specific park areas that require the exclusion of general public usage.
  3. A Special Use Permit shall also be obtained in advance by any person or group wishing to use a Maricopa County Park for eligible commercial uses.
  4. Park Impact Fees for Special Use Permits shall be negotiated by the Department based on the expenses related to the administration of the activity, protection of the park and visitors, and in accordance with established fee schedules when applicable.
  5. The Department may require commercial applicants to enter into an agreement with the County for a negotiated percentage of gross receipts not to exceed twenty (20) percent.
  6. The Department may require the permittee to post a deposit against damage and clean-up expense, provide a certificate of insurance naming the department as additionally insured, and/or provide for adequate medical, sanitary and security services.
  7. A performance and payment bond may be required from any permitee who is providing a service that was solicited to provide any event or activity sponsored by the department.
  8. The Department may impose conditions on the conduct of any activity, which are necessary to protect the area and maintain its availability as a public park.
  9. A Special Use Permit is not required for any person operating under the provisions of a valid special use or commercial management concessions agreement with the department.
  10. Special Use Permit applications, which are compatible with the management objectives of the individual park, may be refused for health and safety reasons or to protect the park from significant damages. With respect to competing non-profit uses, the use of park space shall be granted on a first-come, first-served basis. With respect to competing commercial uses, informal proposals shall be solicited and the Special Use Permit awarded to that concessionaire which offers to provide the County with the highest potential revenue and/or best recreational value to park patrons, provided the concessionaire does not have a poor performance history on any prior permits.
  11. All persons entering a park under a Special Use Permit are subject to all entrance and/or use fees, and all rules and regulations concerning park resource and facility use. The total amount of entrance fees owed by persons entering a park under a Special Use Permit, may be calculated in advance and paid in accordance with terms negotiated as part of the Special Use Permit.
  12. A decision by the Department concerning any Special Use Permit may be appealed to the Commission.
  13. Applications for Special Use Permits may be obtained from an authorized representative of the Department.


  1. Any person who violates any of these rules shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.
  2. Any person who violates any of these rules may also be evicted for failure to comply.


  1. Entering, using, or occupying of a Maricopa County Park or its facilities, designated trails or waterways under the supervision and control of the Department for any purpose when said parks or areas are posted against such entrance, use, occupancy or where barriers exist.
  2. Entering upon or using for any purpose, the land, water or facilities within the boundaries of Maricopa County Parks when a fee, rental, admission or other consideration has been established for such land, water or facilities, unless the person entering or using such land, water or facility has paid said fee, rental, admission or other consideration.


  1. Riding, permitting or allowing livestock, saddle, pack, or draft animals except on designated trails or areas under special permit issued by the Department or by special provisions of a use management agreement.
  2. Possessing, allowing or permitting a dog and/or other pets in a Maricopa County Park, unless the same shall be under immediate control on a leash not exceeding 6 feet in length, except the leash requirement shall not apply to dogs while being used in hunting, or in field trials, or while being trained, when upon lands open to such uses and it does not interfere with other park activities.
  3. Possessing, allowing or permitting a dog in a Maricopa County Park without a current dog license.
  4. Allowing dogs or other pets, other than seeing-eye or hearing guide dogs, within the confines of public park buildings.
  5. Allowing dogs and/or other animals to create a nuisance, noise or disturbance in any area.
  6. Failure of owners of pets to properly remove and dispose of any waste.
  7. Scattering and/or depositing the ashes of any animal.


  1. Except as provided by state law, discharging a firearm, shooting with bow and arrow, or setting traps except in locations provided for that purpose and as permitted by Arizona Game and Fish rules.


  1. Operating any motorized vehicle except on roads and parking areas designated by the Department for such purpose.
  2. Abandoning any vehicle in any area of a Maricopa County Park. Vehicles violating this section may be towed at the owner’s expense.
  3. Parking a motor vehicle or trailer or other device towed by a motor vehicle in such a manner whereby roads, parking areas or other traffic ways or traffic are blocked or otherwise impeded. Vehicles violating this section may be towed at the owner’s expense if such violation constitutes blockage of any emergency lane or otherwise interferes with park operations.
  4. Operating a bicycle in a careless or reckless manner, or in disregard of the safety of any person or property.
  5. Utilizing bike ramps in non-designated areas.
  6. Operating, without permission from the County, any motorized skateboard, motorized scooter, moped or like device.


  1. Bringing into, or operating any watercraft upon any body of water, except at such places and in such manner as designated for such use or purpose by the Department.
  2. Storing or leaving any watercraft without first obtaining a permit issued by the Department or its authorized concessionaire.
  3. Swimming in areas posted against such use.
  4. Cliff jumping.


  1. Destroying, damaging, or removing any tree, shrub, wildflower, cactus, or any other vegetation, or any other vegetative product or by-products without first obtaining a written permit from the Department.
  2. Destroying, damaging, defacing or removing any County property or property administered by the Department.


  1. Depositing or abandoning garbage, sewage, refuse, trash, waste, or other obnoxious material, except in receptacles or containers provided for such purposes.
  2. Throwing or breaking any glass, plastic or ceramic object leaving shards or other fragments on park property.


  1. Conducting one’s self in a disorderly or intoxicated manner, or using threatening, abusive, or boisterous or insulting language, or conducting or participating in a disorderly assembly, or to solicit for any purpose.
  2. Engaging in noisy conduct, operating generators or motors, operating radios, or otherwise making loud or disturbing noises that may disturb the peace of the area between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
  3. Public urination or public defecation.
  4. Engaging in noisy conduct that disturbs the peace.


  1. Camping without first obtaining a written permit issued by the Department
  2. Failure to obey all written or posted camping regulations.


  1. Building fires except in designated places.
  2. Building fires in any area posted against such use.
  3. Building wood or charcoal fires at any time posted against such activity (during fire ban).
  4. Use of gas or propane stove or grills when use is prohibited (during extreme fire ban).
  5. Abandoning any fire without completely extinguishing it.
  6. Allowing a fire to escape from control.


  1. Conducting any activity or assembly outside the individual park’s activity design or requiring the use of park areas which exclude the use by the general public without first obtaining a Special Use Permit from the Department.
  2. Posting, placing, or distributing advertising material; erecting a fence or barrier (except under specific use management or lease agreements), constructing or occupying improvements; or enclosing County administered lands without first obtaining a Special Use Permit from the Department.
  3. Using a loudspeaker, or public address system, or amplifier without first obtaining a Special Use Permit from the Department.
  4. Using County administered lands for a commercial purpose without first obtaining a Special Use Permit or use management or lease agreement from the Department.


  1. Possessing glass, ceramic or hard frangible plastic beverage bottles.


  1. Operating any passenger carrying aircraft of any nature or parachute, including parasailing, except in areas designated for such use by the Department or in an emergency situation.
  2. Operating engine powered models and/or toys in any park area not designated for such use or in such a manner that it could be a hazard to the public.


  1. Interfering with any Park Ranger and/or Park Police Officer in the discharge of the Park Ranger’s and/or Park Police Officer’s duties.
  2. Failing or refusing to obey any lawful command of any Park Ranger and/or Park Police Officer or other Certified Peace Officer.


  1. Damaging, blocking, restricting or otherwise interfering with the use of a trail.
  2. Throwing or rolling rocks or other items into valleys or canyons, down hillsides, mountainsides or trails.
  3. Leaving a designated trail or walkway between trailheads.
  4. Operating a bicycle, riding a horse, or hiking, except on trails designated for that use.
  5. Failure to follow any sign that dictates the use or behavior on a trail.
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