For The Culture of Hiking

Arizona Informant
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Special to the Informant
The City of Phoenix is home to 40 trailheads and more than 200 miles of trails, free for anyone to enjoy. Hiking is one of the biggest parts of Phoenix culture, and there’s plenty of trails for all hikers.

The Phoenix Parks and Recreation De- partment and the City wants everyone to enjoy these trails safely throughout the year, especially the summer. During the Valley’s summer months, Phoenix Park Rangers recommend hiking during the early morning or evening hours when it’s cooler and there is more shade.

Culture Of Hiking

According to a 2018 National Park Service, only 6 perfcent percent of parks visitors are African American. The City of Phoenix’s trail system provides hiking options near residents.

As noted by American Trails, up until recent history, African Americans did not have equal access to National Parks, local parks and pools, campgrounds and other outdoor public amenities in the same way White Americans did. Thus hiking, like other outdoor activities, is historically underrepresented by this demographic.

Today, there are many organizations dedicated to connecting African Americans with the outdoors. The City of Phoenix is dedicated to providing equal access to City parks, trails and amenities to people of all backgrounds. We encourage safe use of our trails as means for free exercise and enjoyment.

Hike With A Fire Fighter, Hear From A Park Ranger Event

Last year, the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department, The City of Phoenix Fire Department, and the United Black Fire Fighters hosted thefirst annual Hike With a Fire Fighter, Hear From a Park Ranger Black History Month event. Participants and city leaders such as Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and various council members met at South Mountain Environmental Education Center. Then, participants chose to walk the Judith Tunell accessible trail or hike the Holbert Trail along with fire fighters and park rangers. Black history facts and pictures aligned each trail and the Black-owned food truck Farmacy was on site as well.

The second annual Hike With a Fire Fighter, Hear From a Park Ranger Black History Month event will be held on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024, at South Mountain Environmental Education Center. Guest arrivals start at 9am to enjoy morning snacks. Dignitaries will speak briefly at 10am and the hikes will follow. This year, the event will include activities and for children and families who chose not to hike. There is no cost to attend, and no registration required.

Take a Hike, Do it Right

The Phoenix Parks and Recreation, and Fire departments have worked in partnership since 2015 to share the “Take a Hike. Do it Right.” hiking safety message and continue to lead with education about responsible hiking.

All trail users should follow these important and potentially life-saving hiking guidelines:

• Dress Appropriately: Wear proper shoes, clothing, hat and sunscreen.

Dusting off any old tennis shoes could prove dangerous on the trail and leave a hiker susceptible to injury. Hikers need to wear sturdy shoes with good foot support and protection from rocks. Shoes should provide traction on wet and dry surface. Backpacking boots, hiking specific shoes and trail running shoes are suitable options. Light-colored, loose-fit- ting and breathable clothing is recommended. Heavy cotton fabrics should be avoided.

• Bring Water: Hydrate before you go. Have plenty of water, more than you think you need. Turn around and head back to the trailhead before you drink half of your water.

• Keep in Contact: Carry a mobile phone.

• Team Up: Hike with others. If hiking solo, tell someone your start and end times, and location.

• Be Honest: Do you have a medical condition? Asthma, heart problems, diabetes, knee or back problems? Don’t push yourself! (Even trained athletes have been caught off guard by getting dehydrated on Arizona trails.)

• Don’t Trailblaze: Enjoy the Sonoran Desert’s beautiful and undeveloped landscape, but please stay on designated trails.

• Take Responsibility: Don’t be “that person” the one who wasn’t prepared, shouldn’t have been there for health reasons, or ignored safety guidelines. Be the responsible hiker, who takes a hike and does it right.


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2024-01-17 23:14:36 , Arizona Informant

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