ALAMO LAKE WEB
Arizona's Rural Communities Rescue State Parks from Closures. Good News! 23 Arizona State Parks will Stay Open ..
(Phoenix, AZ - May 19, 2010) - The Arizona State Parks Board voted today to keep five more State Parks from closing on June 3 by directing Executive Director Renee Bahl to sign unique management and financial agreements with rural communities to keep each one open.
"The State Parks Board, a volunteer group of seven members, has voted in the last three months to negotiate with counties, cities and parks friends groups to fund a total of 23 State Parks to be open into the next fiscal year. The real key now is that we need every Arizonan to use their State Parks as often as possible," said Bahl. "We want the public to know that the Board and staff are focusing on keeping State Parks open because the fiscal impact and loss of jobs from closed parks would be devastating to these rural towns and we believe every Arizonan deserves a robust State Park system."
According to Parks Board Chairman, Reese Woodling, "We have been successful in finding solutions to keep State Parks open, but these are only short term measures. It is a miracle that these communities have raised the funds to keep these parks open so far this year. Arizonans should be proud that so many concerned individuals have stepped forward to lead the communities to cobble together these monies."
"Unfortunately we have lost $10 million dollars from the Heritage Fund to support State, County and City parks and our operating budget has dropped significantly. In two years, the total amount of sweeps and diversions from twelve fund sources that benefit Arizona conservation projects has been $71 million."
Here are some of the highlights of the community efforts: Bashas' Family of Stores (130) raised $20,000, Dasani Water raised $5,000 for recycling programs, Apache Junction businesses raised $26,000 (Lost Dutchman), Tubac Historical Society raised $35,000 (Tubac Presidio), Friends of Tonto raised $8,000 (Tonto Nat. Bridge), Wickenburg/Salome raised $30,000 (Alamo), Riordan Action Alliance raised $40,000 (Riordan Mansion), the City of Eloy has raised $20,000 (Picacho Peak), Benefactors of Red Rock State Park have raised $60,000, Friends of Oracle State Park have raised $50,000 and Yuma raised $70,000 (Territorial Prison). The Arizona Game and Fish Department helped Graham County rescue Roper Lake State Park and Apache County will keep Lyman Lake open this summer. Arizona Highways Magazine has already sold more than 100 magazine subscriptions to support State Parks and the increased tourism these subscriptions will generate will help increase park revenues.
Friends of Alamo Lake
Previous posting regarding the proposed closure.........
Due to Arizona State Parks budget cuts Alamo Lake State Park is set to close on June 3, 2010 - along with the Tonto, Lost Dutchman, Picacho Peak, and Red Rock State Parks.
February 2010 closings included: Ft Verde, Homolovi, Lyman Lake, and Riordan State Park. March 2010 closings included: Tubac, Roper Lake, Tombstone, Yuma Prison State Park. The parks that will remain open are: Buckskin, Catalina, Cattail Cove, Dead Horse, Fool Hollow, Kartchner, Lake Havasu, Patagonia, and Slide Rock State Park.
This information was gathered from the Arizona State Parks Board Presentation from the 01/15/2010 meeting. This presentation has the parks grouped as Group A remain open, Group B closing, Group C closing, and Group D already closed.
The parks that are targeted to remain open (Group A) include Buckskin (Parker), Cattail Cove (Parker) and Fool Hollow (ShowLow) among others. However, these 3 parks show a much greater net revenue loss than the Alamo Lake State Park.
Buckskin lost $161,000 in 2009, Cattail Cove lost $67,000 in 2009, and Fool Hollow lost $70,000 in 2009. Alamo Lake lost only $47,000 in 2009. (Another note of interest is that River Island State Park in Parker is not on any of the list and according to it's website it is open and not targeted for closing!)
Why is Alamo Lake State Park being closed when it is in better financial shape than Buckskin, Cattail Cove, and Fool Hollow? Why, when Buckskin lost $161,000 in 2009, does the board estimate it's 2010 losses to be only $18,000? Cattail Cove is projected to have a net gain in 2010 of $78,000 after loosing $67,000 in 2009. Where are this projections coming from?
So, not only are there questions about how the decisions are being made on which park to close, there is a huge question about what happened to the Heritage Fund?
Who is managing the Heritage Fund? Arizona voters created the Heritage Fund in 1990 disbursing money to the state parks from the Arizona Lottery - - Arizona Revised Statutes § 5-522 - Of the monies remaining in the state lottery fund each fiscal year after appropriations and deposits authorized in subsections A, B and C of this section, ten million dollars shall be deposited in the Arizona state parks board heritage fund established pursuant to § 41-502 and ten million dollars shall be deposited in the Arizona game and fish commission heritage fund established pursuant to § 17-297.
On January 20, 2010, the Governor released her proposal to redirect the Heritage Funds away from the State Parks to solve the shortage in the General Fund.
I believe that public interest and comments are needed to not only to "Save the Alamo" but to save and preserve the Arizona State Parks as whole. Please take the time to contact and comment on this issue ~ Thanks, WEBMASTER - www.azoutback.com
Arizona Heritage Alliance - http://azheritage.wordpress.com/
Contact the Governor ~ http://www.azgovernor.gov/Contact.asp
Arizona State Parks Foundation ~ http://arizonastateparksfoundation.org/
Save our parks petition ~ http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/save-arizona-state-parks
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