One of my favorite state parks in Arizona is Oracle State Park. The park is a 4,000 acre wildlife refuge in the northern foothills of the Catalina Mountains. It also serves as a Center for Environmental Education and provides programming for all ages. I started volunteering at the park in 2003, serving as a program guide with the environmental education program for kids.
The park was originally a 160-acre ranch owned by the Kannally family in the early 1900s. The property was first purchased by Neil and Lee Kannally, and they were later joined by sisters Lucile and Mary, and brother Vincent. None of the five ever married or had children. Over time, the ranch grew to almost 50,000 acres. Lucy was the last surviving member of the family. When she died in 1976, the ranch was willed to the Defenders of Wildlife, which later deeded the ranch to the Arizona State Parks Board. The Friends of Oracle State Park raises funds for the restoration, preservation and operation of this historic Ranch House and its grounds at Oracle State Park.
OSP has more than 15 miles of hiking trails with a variety of trail types, ranging from 3700 to 4600 feet in elevation. A four-mile section of the Arizona National Scenic Trail passes through the park.
In addition to working with the environmental education program, I often help with trail maintenance.
On Friday, December 1, 2017, I led a group of students from Mammoth Elementary STEM School on the Odyssey Program. A local writer from Oracle wrote an article about their visit.