1762-Revised

Maricopa County Parks and Recreation

COVID-19

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APRIL 1, 2020 UPDATE: Changes that have been made to the information below have been highlighted in red.

MARCH 31, 2020 UPDATE: To ensure park visitor and staff safety, the following operational changes have been implemented in all regional parks immediately.

Park hours

  • Park hours for Maricopa County’s mountain parks are 6 am to 6 pm - Sunday through Saturday. This includes the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area.
  • Park hours for Lake Pleasant Regional Park are 6 am to 8 pm Sunday through Saturday.
  • Park hours for the Hassayampa River Preserve will remain the same (ie, closed Monday and Tuesday. Open Wednesday through Sunday from 8 am to 5 pm).

Day-use

  • Parks will limit the day-use capacity to comply with Executive Order 2020-12 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which call for social-distancing. Once the park has reached day-use capacity, entrance into the park will be restricted to a one-out, one-in practice.

Payments

  • Parks will accept payments via credit/debit cards and annual passes at entry stations only.
  • Cash payments are strongly discouraged but may be made via envelope. Please include the exact change as our team will no longer have cash in the entry stations. Checks will not be accepted.

Facilities

  • Nature Centers will remain closed. Staff are available by appointment only, excluding Lake Pleasant Regional Park.
  • All park playgrounds are closed.
  • Group/youth campgrounds and ALL group picnic areas will remain closed.
  • Restrooms in closed areas will be locked.

Trailheads

  • Popular trailheads at some parks may experience parking restrictions to limit capacity or will be closed to help ensure safe social-distancing.
  • If parking restrictions are in place, DO NOT park along the roadway or create parking spots.

Campsites

  • The online and phone reservation system will be used to book developed and semi-developed campsites. Reservations may be made during business hours by calling (602) 506-2930 ext. 1.
  • No reservations will be taken after hours.
  • No primitive, shoreline, or boat camping allowed.
  • LAKE PLEASANT REGIONAL PARK: Effective at 12 pm (noon) on Friday, April 3, 2020, the North Entrance and North Lake Pleasant Area will be CLOSED until further notice.

Maricopa County’s regional parks and trails, including campgrounds, continue to remain open for public use.

However, Maricopa County is adopting the President’s and Center for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) 15 Days to Slow The Spread Coronavirus Guidelines for America, which will impact how we conduct business. The new guidelines recommend:

  • Social-distancing.
    • Avoid social gatherings in groups of more than ten (10) people.
      • Do not use trails if you have symptoms of COVID-19, which can include fever, cough and breathing trouble.
      • Ensure that there is six (6) to eight (8) feet between you and the next person on the trail, following social distancing guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
      • If your favorite trailhead or recreational spot in the park is experiencing overcrowding and congestion, find another area in the park to visit so you are practicing safe social-distancing.
      • Maricopa County's regional park system contains 596-miles of trails, this includes the 315-mile Maricopa Trail. Maps for the Maricopa Trail can be found at https://www.maricopacountyparks.net/things-to-do/activity/maps/. 
      • Bring water, snacks, and sunscreen. The nature centers are closed, so you will not be able to purchase items at the park.
      • If you’re hiking with pets, please clean-up after them. It’s even more important than usual to pack out your own trash to protect any park employees and the natural resources.
    • The Arizona Department of Health Services strongly recommends that dining establishments discourage dine-in traffic in areas of known community spread (i.e., Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal Counties).
    • If dine-in options are provided, social distancing measures should be implemented, providing space for customers to be placed at least six (6) feet apart.
  • Practice good hygiene.
    • Wash your hands, especially after touching any frequently used item or surface.
    • Avoid touching your face.
    • Sneeze or cough into a tissue, or the inside of your elbow.
    • Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.

To comply with these recommendations, the department is:

  • THE NATURE CENTERS ARE CLOSED. PARKS AND TRAILS REMAIN OPEN. 
  • canceling all park programs, events, and Special Use Permits
  • closing group/youth campgrounds
  • canceling group ramada reservation, 
  • will stop accepting reservations for group ramadas and group/youth campgrounds, and
  • the use of playgrounds is not recommended at this time. 

In addition, all fees related to COVID-19 cancelations will be waived and returned or may be used for a future date. These actions are scheduled to run through April 30, 2020.

The department will continue to monitor county, state, and federal health department recommendations for guidance and provide updates as they impact park and trail operations, and/or public safety. 


NOTE: Our team's area of expertise is outdoor recreation, not infectious diseases, we are asking that you visit the following websites for information on COVID-19. Information is very fluid right now and, at times, only being released on social media accounts so please don't discount these resources.

If you have questions or concerns, please email us at maricopacountyparks@maricopa.gov. Future updates and changes will be posted on this page.


Recommendations for trail users on observing social distancing minimums

There are a number of specific recommendations for advising the public to keep safe social distancing when in parks or on trails

  • Follow CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to heading to trails — wash hands, carry hand sanitizer, do not use trails if you have symptoms, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, etc.
  • Observe at all times CDC’s minimum recommended social distancing of six feet from other people. Practice it and know what it looks like. Keep it as you walk, bike or hike.
  • Warn other trail users of your presence and as you pass to allow proper distance and step off trails to allow others to pass, keeping minimum recommended distances at all times. Signal your presence with your voice, bell or horn.
  • Note that trail and park users may find public restrooms closed — be prepared before you leave and time outings so that you are not dependent on public restrooms.
  • Bring water or drinks — public drinking fountains may be disabled and should not be used, even if operable.
  • Bring a suitable trash bag. Leave no trash, take everything out to protect park workers

Information provided by the National Parks and Recreation Association

OLDER POSTS:

  • MARCH 26 UPDATE: To help keep the public and employees safe, we ask that when paying to enter the Maricopa County Parks, please either pay with a credit/debit card, annual pass or bring exact change. A list of all park fees can be found at https://www.maricopacountyparks.net/fees/. Please note that the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area is cash only.
    • In order to keep Maricopa County's beautiful regional parks open, the department is not able to waive fees as the parks are self-funded.
  • MARCH 25 UPDATE: To comply with the CDC's recommendations, the following facilities/services will remain closed/canceled through April 30, 2020:
  • THE NATURE CENTERS ARE CLOSED. PARKS AND TRAILS REMAIN OPEN. 
  • canceling all park programs, events, and Special Use Permits
  • closing group/youth campgrounds
  • canceling group ramada reservation, 
  • will stop accepting reservations for group ramadas and group/youth campgrounds, and
  • the use of playgrounds is not recommended at this time. 
  • MARCH 24 UPDATE: On March 23, 2020, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey issued Executive Order 2020-12 which prohibits the closure of essential services. This order includes:
    • Outdoor recreation activities: any outdoor recreation area, park, site or trail that provides opportunities for outdoor recreation with social-distancing such as walking, hiking, and biking.
    • For a full copy of Executive Order 2020-12 - Prohibiting the Closure of Essential Services, please visit the Governor's website at https://azgovernor.gov/executive-orders.

  • MARCH 22 UPDATE: If the area in the park or the trailhead you are visiting is overly crowded or congested, please find another area in the park to visit so you are practicing safe social-distancing. 
  • MARCH 21 UPDATE: The Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department realizes that the community is seeking places to visit given the closure of local entertainment facilities and retail centers; however, this is placing high-volume and crowding in the regional parks. If you are planning a visit, please expect delays and be patient.  Give your land a hand and practice responsible stewardship of your county parks. Click here to read full press release...
 
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