Maricopa County's Parks and Recreation
Department now features the nation's largest county park system, with 10
regional parks totaling more than 120,000 acres.
The park system began in 1954 to
preserve the mountain areas for future generations to enjoy. A federal act in
the 1970 called the Recreation and Public Purposes Act allowed Maricopa County
to acquire thousands of acres of parkland from the Bureau of Land Management at
$2.50 an acre. A combination of leased and purchased land has allowed this
department to develop a regional park system that preserves open space and will
forever provide the residents of Maricopa County with an opportunity to visit
In 1992 Maricopa County entered a
50-year management agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation to manage the newly
enlarged Lake Pleasant. At 10,000 surface acres Lake Pleasant is the second
largest lake entirely within the state and far and away the largest lake within
easy driving distance from central Phoenix.
Today, more than 1.2 million park visitors
each year enjoy affordable recreation available year-round.
Each county park has its own unique
characteristics offering recreation to Valley residents and visitors alike.
Some parks offer boating, picnicking, golf, archery and shooting ranges. Others
have camping and recreational vehicle camping facilities. Most offer hiking,
picnicking and mountain biking.