Governor Doug Ducey recently signed legislation to help preserve and promote Arizona’s dude ranches and the unique experiences they deliver to Arizonans and thousands of visitors each year.
HB2398, sponsored by Rep. Tim Dunn of Yuma, creates the Arizona Dude Ranch Heritage Trail Program, which provides a framework for highlighting the historical essence that guests can expect at Arizona’s statewide collection of dude and guest ranches.
“Just like our amazing sunsets, saguaros and the Grand Canyon, dude ranches are an iconic part of the Arizona experience,” said Governor Ducey. “The Heritage Trail Program designation will help encourage visitors to choose Arizona and keep intact the state’s rich dude ranch history.”
Some example requirements to earn the Arizona Dude Ranch Heritage Trail designation include:
- A dude ranch must have been in business for at least 25 years;
- Contain at least 1,000 contiguous acres;
- And provide guests recreational activities including horseback riding, hiking, biking or a working cattle ranch experience.
The Arizona Dude Ranch Heritage Trail program will be housed within the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), a division of Arizona State Parks and Trails.
“Dude and guest ranches offer insight into an important aspect of Arizona’s culture and heritage,” said Bob Broscheid, executive director of Arizona State Parks and Trails. “We are proud to be able to showcase these destinations along with our parks and highlight more unique, amazing Arizona experiences.”
This legislation follows a series of efforts by the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) spotlighting Arizona’s amazing dude and guest ranches as ideal destinations for travelers seeking beautiful scenery, wide-open spaces and natural settings. Additional efforts include:
- AOT recently released a new video highlighting the people, scenes and experiences awaiting visitors to Arizona’s dude and guest ranches throughout the state.
- AOT is partnering with Local First Arizona to produce a Small Wonders map featuring all Arizona dude and guest ranches. Heritage Trail program participants will receive a special designation on the map.
“Dude ranches and exploring the outdoors are cornerstones of the American West,” said Diana Nash, owner of Circle Z Ranch in Patagonia. “We appreciate the efforts of the Arizona Office of Tourism to promote our all-inclusive experiences to potential guests.”
“We’re lucky to have so many great dude ranch and guest ranch options for visitors to choose from in our state,” said Debbie Johnson, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. “Whether you want to experience working like a cowboy, or feel like a pampered guest enjoying luxury accommodations or anything in between, our dude ranches offer it all.”