Starving our state parks hurts economy

[Source: Kathleen Ingley, Arizona Republic] – Lawmakers talk big about creating jobs and getting agencies to be entrepreneurial. So, why are they wrecking Arizona State Parks? The parks already get no money from the general fund. Now, legislators are sweeping up revenue that parks generate on their own. No business could survive these raids on its cash register. And how dumb is it for a tourist state to starve parks instead of promoting them?

Viewpoint: Put a state-park-funding plan on the ballot

[Source: Kathleen Ingley, Arizona Republic] — After taking British visitors on a day trip from Phoenix, I started thinking of wonderful places for their next visit.  Jerome and the Douglas Mansion’s mining displays.  Gorgeous Red Rock State Park. Fort Verde for a taste of the Old West.  But they’re closing.  Legislators drained state-park funding.  They must at least let voters consider restoring it through license fees.

Arizona’s parks are too valuable to let fall apart (Arizona Republic editorial)

[Source: Kathleen Ingley, Arizona Republic] — If you’ve slipped and bumped down the shoot of water at Slide Rock near Sedona.  If you’ve watched troops dressed in Civil War uniforms re-create the skirmish at Picacho Peak.  If you’ve climbed around Tonto Natural Bridge north of Payson.  If you’ve seen the glistening formations at Kartchner Caverns.  Then you’ve got a reason to celebrate.

Happy birthday, state parks!  Exactly 50 years ago today, Gov. Ernest McFarland signed legislation creating the framework for the parks system.  You’ve also got a lot of reasons to feel outraged.  Our parks are suffering from a shameful lack of maintenance and capital spending.  The budget was gutted five years ago, when the state was in a financial crunch, and funding is just being restored, leaving a huge backlog of repairs.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]