YARNELL Ariz. - Limited parking at the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park may have prevented some from paying homage to the 19 lives lost in 2013 while battling the Yarnell Hill Fire.
Howard Key and his wife were visiting from Yuma on Memorial Day.
“It was crowded so we just kept going,” Key said.
The Keys returned in the afternoon when most of the 17 parking spots were open.
“I did this trail back in December and it was pretty full then,” Lynnora Gilbert said.
This time, Gilbert dropped off friends so they could experience the 7-mile round-trip hike, without stressing about parking.
According to Vice President of Yarnell Hill Recovery Group, Inc. Frances Lechner this has been an ongoing problem since the park opened last November, especially when the weather was cooler, but members said a shuttle out of downtown Yarnell could be the answer.
“I think that the idea of doing a shuttle would be awesome,” Shavonne Updike said just after arriving to the park with her family Monday.
“It’s going to be a little bit of a learning curve to determine, you know, what kind of frequency of the shuttle service is going to be most practical and efficient,” Lechner said.
The group asked the Central Yavapai Metropolitan Planning Organization (CYMPO) to lend a hand.
CYMPO transportation planner Vincent Gallegos said Wednesday, networking with transit services from across the state and applications for grants are already underway.
“You have a whole corridor of rural communities here that could benefit tremendously,” Gallegos said.
“Those young men died trying to save this town and we owe it to them to do everything we can to make this be a marvelous place to come and visit,” Flechner said.
Of the 17 parking spots at the park, one are accessible parking for people with disabilities, two are limited to ten minutes and four are for motorcycles.