Officials: State parks need $43 million in repairs, upgrades

[Source: Mike Meyer, Cronkite News Service] — The lodge at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park used to serve as an idyllic resort for vacationers.  Now the guest rooms stand vacant. Paint has peeled away from the ceiling and walls, revealing gaping holes in the drywall.  Built in 1927 by the land’s original homesteaders, the Goodfellow family, the lodge was one of the first guest ranches in the area and operated as a privately owned resort until the state purchased the land in October 1990.

Since then, the lodge, which is now used for meetings, has been hard-hit by water damage.  The roof shingles have deteriorated and support beams in the attic have been eaten away by leaking water.  The lodge doesn’t meet fire codes and needs repairs to its fire suppression system, park manager John Boeck said.  Whether or not the lodge is repaired depends in large part on the state Legislature, which is considering the State Parks Board budget.  “Sometimes they look at state parks as a nicety, not a necessity,” Boeck said.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]