Planning to visit Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park in Yarnell to pay respects and learn about the 19 brave firefighters who gave their lives battling against the Yarnell Hill Fire?
Make sure you do it by not parking illegally along State Route 89, putting yourself and others at risk.
With signs near the parking lot summarizing the tragedy of June 30, 2013, and a memorial at the top of the Weaver Mountains for those who are in shape to hike up the hill, the park provides multiple opportunities for Arizonans and others across the country to honor and remember those men.
Parking illegally along the shoulders of SR 89 to get to the park, however, is not the best nor safest way to show that honor. The shoulders of state highways are reserved for emergencies only.
Parking along them causes distractions to drivers along the highway and can prevent emergency vehicles from gaining access to those who need help.
Plus, it puts you and your family and friends at greater risk right next to the highway.
With more than 25,000 annual visitors to the state park, the parking lot can fill up fast. Thankfully, the Yarnell Fire Department has risen to the occasion by providing a shuttle service to the park on the weekends when the memorial park sees the most visitors.
The shuttle service runs Fridays through Sundays every half hour from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Proceed past the park into Yarnell and park at the Yarnell Fire Department. The last dropoff at the park trailhead is 1 p.m., and the last pickup at the park trailhead is 5 p.m.
To learn more about Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park and the shuttle service, visit azstateparks.com/hotshots.
Ryan Harding is a public information officer for the Arizona Department of Transportation. Visit azdot.gov.