September 4, 2008
The Honorable Janet Napolitano
State of Arizona
1700 W. Washington, 9th Floor
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Dear Governor Napolitano:
I am writing to you as the president of the Arizona State Parks Foundation (ASPF), a not-for-profit organization that works in a variety of ways to help the State Parks Department meet its goals. My purpose in writing is to inform you that ASPF strongly supports the request from the Arizona State Parks Board that you appoint a blue ribbon committee to analyze the current and future needs of the park system and explore stable revenue sources to meet the goals of the park system.
You may be aware that during the recent budget crisis ASPF engaged in a very public campaign, including contacts with statewide news media and Arizona legislators, to try to minimize the damage to State Parks from fund sweeps and budget cuts. While we may have had some limited success, the experience convinced most of our board of directors that the parks system cannot meet the expectations of Arizona citizens while continuing to ride a financial roller coaster. In response, we recommended the action that the Parks Board has taken.
I know you are well aware that the parks system contains several of the state’s scenic treasures, historic sites that would crumble into oblivion without protection and some of the most popular recreation areas in the southwest. The parks generate far more economic benefit to Arizona communities than the cost of maintaining them. We are convinced that an expanded network of parks and open spaces, including county and municipal properties, is also an important social safety valve in a state that is already among the most urbanized in the country and growing more so.
For all of these reasons, ASPF seeks a long-range view of the role of State Parks and a reliable means of funding its mission. Toward that end, we fervently support your appointment of the blue ribbon committee requested by the Parks Board. ASPF stands ready to assist such a committee in its efforts in any way possible.
Bill Meek, President
Arizona State Parks Foundation