[Source: Karen Warnick, The White Mountain Independent] — Once more Lyman Lake State Park, located near St. Johns, escaped closure by the State Parks Board, but it still remains on the chopping block along with seven other parks. The board met Friday, Feb. 20, to decide the fate of more than a third of Arizona’s 27 parks. The meeting took place at the Peoria City Council chamber room due to the large number of people expected to attend. The meeting started at 9 a.m. and lasted until 3 p.m. with a 30-minute lunch break.
Residents from around the state showed up to support keeping the parks open. County and city law enforcement officials, members of non-profit and grassroots organizations, and private citizens spoke before the board during the call to the public. Several individuals representing Apache and Navajo counties, including Apache County Sheriff Joseph Dedmon and Navajo County Supervisor Jesse Thompson, were at the meeting. Penny Pew, representing a community group from the White Mountains, spoke to the board. Pew presented the board with letters from Apache County Supervisor R. John Lee, the mayors of Pinetop-Lakeside, Eagar and St. Johns, the chambers of St. Johns and Springerville-Eagar, St. Johns Unified School District Superintendent Larry Heap, and over 100 students from St. Johns.
In his letter, Lee said, “On behalf of the citizens of Apache County, this letter is an expression of Apache County’s support for continued operation of Lyman Lake State Park, which is vital to its residents and nonresidents in providing recreation and economic benefits.” Eagar Mayor Kim Holaway said, “Apache County is one of the poorest counties in the state and is considered entirely rural. Rural communities have fewer resources to draw upon than the larger cities in our state.” [Note: To read the full article, click here.]