Arizona State Parks Announces Winners of Covid Writing Contest

May 17, 2021

PHOENIX – Arizona State Parks and Trails asked how visiting a park helped you during a pandemic, and the response wasThe Padgett family at Slide Rock State Park during the pandemic overwhelming. Today, the agency announced the winners of the contest.

“We had nearly 100 entries to the contest, and the stories were moving, heartwarming, and really showcased how much of an impact being able to get outdoors had on people during the pandemic,” said Executive Director Bob Broscheid. “By remaining open, we provided a service to our visitors and our state.”

Arizona’s state parks and trails were named an essential service by Governor Ducey in March 2020 and have remained open and accessible to visitors. During a year with so many restrictions and closures, parks have remained one of the few open places to get away, get exercise, and get out of the house. The submissions varied from people who had never been to a park before to those who live nearby and didn’t realize how important the park was until the quarantine.

The winners are:

  • 1st Place: Meghan Selich
  • 2nd Place: ML Gordon
  • 3rd Place: R. Ashurst and Stacey Padgett (tie)

The parks also announced several honorable mentions that will receive one day pass to the parks. Honorable mentions were selected due to the large amount of highly qualified stories submitted. Those selected are:

  • Toni L.
  • Gene and Darl Rector
  • Teresa Tallman
  • Kelli Donley Williams
  • Lukas O’Rourke and Rebecca O’Rourke
  • Hannah Siegel
  • Alex La Pierre

“Reading about how visiting a park made a difference in people’s lives really impacted our staff,” said Executive Director Bob Broscheid. “It’s been a difficult year for everyone, employees included, and knowing that this was valuable to so many people is incredible.”

Select stories will be featured on Arizona State Parks and Trails social media pages (@AZStateParks) as well as at

Managing and conserving Arizona's natural, cultural and recreational resources for the benefit of the people, both in our parks and through our partners.

For information about all 35 Arizona State Parks and Natural Areas, the Trails and Off-Highway Vehicle Programs and State Historic Preservation Office call 1-877-MY-PARKS or visit

PRESS CONTACT: Michelle Thompson at (480) 589-8877 - Email: