Hittin' the Trails 4 You

Jan 18, 2013 8:10 AM by Jeff Beamish

Hittin' the Trails: Oracle State Park reopens Feb. 2

ORACLE - Oracle State Park, Center for Environmental Education, will re-open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays beginning February 2, 2013 from 8am to 5pm through April 28, 2013. Spring activities will include the popular guided bird walks and hikes, tours of the historic Kannally ranch house, and environmental education school programs are offered weekdays by reservation.

On February 2 and 16, join Volunteer Mary Ellen Flynn for a Guided Bird Walk. Meet on the upper patio of the Kannally Ranch House at 8:15 am. The walk is free with park entrance fee. No reservation needed.

On February 9 and 16, there will be a Guided Hike with Gaston Meloche. 3-5 mile group hikes are planned. Reservation is required. Meet at 9 am at the Kannally Ranch House both days. Call Hike Leader, Gaston, at (520) 638-5404 to sign up.

Annual Oracle Volunteer Training will be held on February 15. There will be an open house Orientation from 9am to noon in the living room of the Kannally Ranch House. Please call for a reservation (520) 895-2425. The first class is a no-commitment-necessary introduction to the Oracle State Park (OSP) Volunteer Program, Environmental Education School Programs and introduction to the Cultural History of the park. Volunteer Training continues weekly Fridays through March. On Friday February 22, learn more about the park's natural history - geology, plants and wildlife - and interpretive education mission.

Environmental education programs for school children, first through sixth grades, are scheduled by reservation on weekdays at (520) 895-2425. Thousands of students have learned important environmental principles in these ranger/volunteer-led programs over the last two decades.

Each Saturday and Sunday at 10am and 2pm starting on February 2, tours of the historic Kannally Ranch House will resume. House tours are free with park admission. Visitors will learn the stories behind its hand-carved corbels, stenciled walls, hand-formed fireplace, French casement windows and cozy ranch kitchen. The Kannally Ranch House is a four-level pueblo-revival adobe home with Moorish and Mediterranean influences. It was built by the Kannally ranching family and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The displays include family photos, furnishings and several paintings by "self-taught" cowboy artist Lee Kannally. Picnicking on the patios is welcomed.

Oracle State Park has trails that offer varying degrees of difficulty including a four-mile section of the Arizona Trail that transects the park. Bring your camera, binoculars, notebook, sketchbook, birdbook and leash for your pet.

Oracle State Park is located northeast of Tucson in the northern foothills of the Catalina Mountains and features quiet picnic spots, miles of hiking trails, stunning views of the mountains, access to the Arizona Trail plus other oak-woodland trails. Restaurants and attractions in the quaint community of Oracle are nearby.

Elevations in the 4,000-acre wildlife refuge range from 3,500 to 4,500 feet. The park features a diversity of animals, plant species and rock formations. There are also oak tree-shaded washes, mesquite scrub habitats and riparian woodlands with manzanita and beargrass.

For more information visit the website at AZStateParks.com, call the park office at (520) 895-2425. The Park Entrance Fee is $7 per vehicle for up to 4 adults.

For information about all 27 Arizona State Parks, the Trails and Off-Highway Vehicle Programs and State Historic Preservation Office call (602) 542-4174 (outside of the Phoenix metro area call toll-free (800) 285-3703), visit the website and online camping reservations at AZStateParks.com, Twitter/Facebook AZStateParks.

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