Viewpoint: State park closures threaten who we are

[Source: April Stolarz, College Times, 3-18-2010] — I’m just gonna throw it out there: Because of the economy, a lot of things suck.  Yes, that’s a general statement and pretty blunt, but many people have been affected by the economy’s low blows and harsh punches.  The latest in the economic whirlwind of crappiness comes full force with the closing of Arizona state parks.  Closings have occurred in increments and the last big sweep is set for June 3.  After that, nine parks will remain open.

Some of you may be reading this thinking, “why should I care about a state park closing?”  Now that’s up to you and your feelings.  I’m not going to tell you how to feel about this issue, but I’ll throw in some of my ideas about these jewels of nature.  By definition, parks are: an area of land, usually in a largely natural state, for the enjoyment of the public.  What will happen to the parks once the public can’t enjoy them anymore?  Will the landmarks not be preserved?

Sure, there are tons of places in Arizona to go hiking, observe wildlife, camp and explore, but no land is preserved like the land in a state park.  State parks are preserved for a reason.  Aside from the hiking and exploring, state parks are places where you can truly learn about Arizona and truly understand what makes the state so special.  Yes, I know you can appreciate Arizona by simply looking outside at the towering mountains and the colorful sunsets, but state parks provide a deeper meaning of understanding, a further look into the state’s history, a glimpse into the past.

Nature, flourishing and thriving as it is, provides us with a deeper sense of what our country is, of who we are.  It provides a serene realism to the hectic lives we lead.  It’s both a comfort and refreshment that we too often take for granted.  If the state takes that away from us, who know what’ll possibly come next.