[Source: Jessica Ramirez, Newsweek Magazine] — Ken Travous has spent the past month trying to get out of the red. During a meeting with Arizona State Parks Board members Feb. 3, Travous, who serves as parks director, explained that statewide budget cuts would mean he’d have to close up to 11 state parks. The board naturally wanted to avoid such drastic measures and asked him to come back with “more options” for cutting $27 million.
Unfortunately, the options aren’t necessarily better. Shutting down the parks would mean closing some of the oldest public lands in the state, a loss of about 31 jobs and roughly $50 million dollars in economic impact to the state. Plan B would mean asking employees to take furloughs, laying off up to 40 park workers, and cutting about $12 million in funds for community projects like local parks, trail developments, and historic preservation. Without that funding, landscapers, carpenters, and plumbers hired by these communities would be out of work. It’s this choice that made him feel like he’d been punched in the stomach every time he sits down at his desk. “I have spent the last 23 years as the director of this state park system, building it up,” he says. “Now I see it crumbling beneath my feet, and it makes me sick.” [Note: To read the full article, click here.]