[Source: Sedona.biz] – The Citizens to Save Arizona’s Natural Resources is a citizen-led initiative with over 200 volunteers across the state collecting signatures to qualify for this November’s ballot. Recent polling shows over 80% of Arizonans support the initiative and the funding it generates to ensure that Arizona State Parks is not in danger of shutting down due to lack of resources. The campaign currently has over 80,000 signatures in hand but needs an additional 100,000 signatures by early July to qualify for the ballot.
“We are confident voters will overwhelmingly pass the initiative this November but our true battle is qualifying for the ballot,” said Bill Meek, campaign spokesperson and longtime Arizona natural resources civic leader. “This initiative is critical to our state and I strongly encourage all Arizonans to sign the petition and visit aznaturalresources.org to make a donation to the campaign to help us hire professional signature gatherers to get us over the finish line in the short time remaining.”
There is also a 501(c)4 organization called Outdoors Arizona Now that is assisting the effort and contributions can be mailed to this social welfare organization at 2409 E. Solano Drive Phoenix, AZ 85016.
Polling shows only 23 percent of Arizonans believe funding for state parks is sufficient. “California is currently planning on closing 70 parks across the state and we cannot allow massive park closures to happen in Arizona,” added Meek. Since 2009 the Arizona State Legislature has transferred away from Arizona State Parks more than $15 million of the park system’s earned income (gate fees, gift shop proceeds, donations, and reservation surcharge funds.)
The ballot initiative provides that all Arizona schoolchildren, from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, receive free admission to Arizona State Parks when part of a school trip. 90% of likely Arizona voters support this provision of the ballot measure.
It also protects Arizona State Parks funds and the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Heritage Fund allocation from legislative fund sweeps and re-establishes the Arizona State Parks annual $10 million Heritage grant program for public and non-profit organizations. Annually, Arizonans who register their non-commercial motor vehicles will have the option of making a voluntary $14 per vehicle donation to help fund this measure.
Meek added, “We need to act now. This is a legacy campaign for all generations in Arizona’s centennial year. Help Arizona, its children, and its natural resources now.”