Unique Partnership Benefits Catalina State Park

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Phoenix- Thanks to the combined efforts and resources of Arizona State Parks, the estate of Asta Forrest, the Friends of Catalina State Park (FOCSP), and local resident Emerson Knowles, Catalina State Park will soon be able to offer a new group area ramada and trailhead kiosk.

Deputy Parks Director Jay Ream said, “The Asta Forrest donation funds have enabled State Parks to build much needed amenities that will enhance the park experience for customers to enjoy for years to come.”

Park Manager Steve Haas commented, “What’s so great about this project is not just that the Park will be gaining important new facilities, but also that so many groups are working together to support the Park. These public-private partnerships are win-win situations for all of us.”

This is not the first time that the Park has benefited from a public-private partnership.  In December 2012, another good friend of the Park gave the Friends of Catalina State Park (FOCSP) $4,900 to print 148,000 Catalina State Park maps to increase the visibility of the Friends group. This time, too, Catalina State Park is the beneficiary of the generosity of private citizens and public funds from the state park system.

Asta Forrest funds came from the estate of Asta Forrest who left almost $250,000 to Arizona State Parks when she died in 2003. It was at the time the largest private donation the parks system had ever received.

A magnet for many people from communities throughout southern Arizona, Catalina State Park attracts almost 200,000 visitors each year. One of those visitors is Emerson Knowles, a FOCSP member, who has logged hundreds of miles on park trails during his regular trail runs. Emerson is adamant that “our park is an amazing asset to our community and we must work together to keep this cherished jewel exceptional for all of us to share.”

Many FOCSP members are also regular park visitors – and dedicated park supporters. “That’s what unites us – and what keeps us working so hard: our love of the Park. We are so grateful to Emerson and to all of our donors for making it possible for us to participate in this wonderful initiative,” said FOCSP President and Arizona State Parks volunteer Laura Larson.

The Friends of Catalina State Park (FOCSP) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to promote the interests of Catalina State Park, to mobilize support for park projects and activities, and to raise funds for the Park. If you like to hike, to cycle, to camp, or to ride the trails at Catalina State Park; or if you enjoy the nature programs with the live snakes, gila monsters, and other wild animals; or if you simply enjoy the Park’s boulder terrain and mountain vistas, come join the Friends of Catalina State Park.

Catalina State Park’s Entrance Fee is $7 per vehicle (up to four adults). Primitive to full hookup camping sites are available at a fee of $15 to $30 depending on the type of camping site needed. Catalina State Park is located on State Highway 77 (Oracle Road) at mile marker 81, just nine miles north of Tucson and six miles north of Ina Road.

Staff (3391 Posts)

There are news or informational items frequently written by staff or submitted to the Copper Basin News, San Manuel Miner, Superior Sun, Pinal Nugget or Oracle Towne Crier for inclusion in our print or digital products. These items are not credited with an author.


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