State Parks task force recommends $15 surcharge at MVD

Source: Chrystall Kanyuck, Arizona Capitol Times.com 11-5-2009]

A task force appointed by Gov. Jan Brewer recommends adding $14 or $15 to annual vehicle registrations to help sustain Arizona State Parks. The recommendation from the Task Force on Sustainable State Parks Funding includes the ability for vehicle owners to opt out of the fee. However, all drivers with Arizona license plates would receive free admission to state parks. 

The proposed fee echoes a recommendation in a report last month by Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy. Paul Senseman, a spokesman for the governor’s office, said the recommendation is worthy of public discussion. 

“There have been cuts for many years, and the parks are in critical need of funding,” he said. 

With the state addressing a budget crisis, Arizona State Parks has seen its operating budget cut to $19 million in the fiscal year that began in July from $26 million the previous year. Entrance fees, which helped fund capital improvements, are now used to cover operating costs [to read the full article click here].

State parks are in dire need of public’s support

[Source: Arizona Republic Editorial 10-26-2009]  – This discussion was done with Rich Dozer, who is the Chairman of the Governor’s Sustainable State Parks Task Force.

1. Many Arizonans may not realize what a diverse state park system we have.

Arizona has 31 state parks on a total of 63,847 acres, and the parks are all different from each other, in size, scope and purpose. There are recreation parks, such as Catalina, Lake Havasu, Picacho Peak, Slide Rock and Tonto Natural Bridge. There also are historic and cultural parks, such as Jerome, the Tombstone Courthouse and the Yuma Territorial Prison [to read the full editorial click here].

Local PBS station airs segment on plight of Arizona State Parks

[Source: Horizon, KAET, Ted Simons, 9-30-2009] — As PBS and Ken Burns examine the rich scenic and cultural values of our national parks, KAET’s Horizon focuses its lens on Arizona State Parks.  We’ll preview an upcoming report from ASU’s Morrison Institute that considers the role and future of Arizona’s 30 State Parks.  Guests include State Parks Director, Renee Bahl; State Parks Board member, Bill Scalzo; and Morrison Institute’s Grady Gammage, Jr. who also serves on the Sustainable State Parks Task Force.  [Note: to watch the segment, click here.]