[Source: Arizona Republic Editorial, 11-18-2009] – Our state park system is withering and dying. That isn’t a hysterical overstatement. It’s a simple statement of fact. Gov. Jan Brewer’s Task Force on Sustainable State Parks examined this diverse collection of special places in Arizona, ranging from the splendors of Kartchner Caverns to the beaches of Lake Havasu. The conclusion: The system is “in imminent danger of complete collapse as a result of financial starvation during most of this decade.”
The state is not putting any money from the General Fund into Arizona State Parks. And it’s diverting other money that should go into the 30 parks, including revenue they generate. Capital needs have been shamefully neglected for years. Historic buildings, such as the Douglas Mansion in Jerome, are crumbling. Water systems are disintegrating. Docks are falling apart. There isn’t enough operating money. Some parks are shuttered, and others have reduced their hours. Arizona is in danger of becoming the only state in the union without a state parks system [to read the full editorial click here].