[Source: John Hutchinson, Verde Independent] – A powerhouse panel of political players combined with a standing room-only crowd of State Parks supporters and conservationists gathered to help strategize the long-term sustainable operation of the State Parks system Thursday. Supported by a documentary film, “Postcards from the Parks,” which tells the story of Arizona’s State Parks long-running financial crisis, the panel took five aspects of the issue and fielded questions.
Birgit Lowenstein, who helped organize the Benefactors of the Red Rocks, said, “we have taken State Parks for granted.” There were also representatives from Cottonwood, Jerome, and Yavapai County, plus a flood of volunteers of the Parks system. “We have created a financial band-aid, but it is not sustainable. We must find a long-term solution,” urged Lowenstein.”
Chief among the messages of the documentary film: “A closed park doesn’t make any money.” The closure of the parks would save the government $8 million, but cost $260 million in economic decline to the surrounding communities from the parks’ closure. The documentary film quotes Director Renee Bahl, “We don’t have to chose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment. We can have both.” [to read the full article click here].