Legislative cost-cutting threatens Arizona parks (Tucson Citizen guest opinion)

[Source: Bill Meek, Arizona State Parks Foundation] — Arizona’s state parks system is crumbling, and the Legislature is threatening to apply a sledgehammer to the problem.  Our 30 state park sites preserve some scenic gems, such as Catalina near Tucson, the world-famous Kartchner Caverns near Benson, and Red Rock State Park in Sedona.  State parks also protect historic treasures such as Homolovi Ruins near Winslow and the Yuma Territorial Prison.  And a bevy of wildly popular water-oriented parks are at lakes and rivers across the state.  Arizona’s state parks welcomed 2.3 million visitors last year.

In exchange for meager state funding, the parks generate about $126 million annually in tourist revenue for their neighboring counties and municipalities, shows a 2002 study by Northern Arizona University.  The Legislature appropriates only $8.2 million to the Parks department from the general fund.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]