[Source: Tammy Gray-Searles, AzJournal.com, 11-27-2009] — “It is our judgment that the state parks system is in imminent danger of complete collapse as a result of financial starvation during most of this decade,” wrote the members of the state task force on sustainable parks funding in their Oct. 30 report to the governor. The task force was asked to find ways to keep Arizona state parks open. In the report, the group recommended implementing a $14 to $15 fee to vehicle registrations that would be dedicated solely to state parks, ensuring enough funds for both, maintenance and operations, as well as infrastructure and capital improvements.
“…our chief recommendation is that the state should implement a Sustainable State Parks Fund, which would be financed by a $14 to $15 annual contribution to be collected from owners of non-commercial vehicles as a part of the vehicle registration process,” the recommendation notes. “The proceeds would be dedicated to the operation, maintenance and capital needs of state parks. In return, private vehicles bearing Arizona license plates would be admitted free to state parks. The enactment should include a provision to allow individual license holders to opt out of paying the surcharge, so it would not burden those who are least able to afford higher expenses.”
According to the task force report, as well as a separate report prepared by the Morrison Institute, without a drastic change in funding, all of Arizona’s parks are in danger of being shut down. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]