Arizona Closes State Parks

Arizona closes one-third of its 30 parks to cover budget shortfalls

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Summer’s not shaping up to be a fun one for Arizonans. If you were hoping to get away from all the national attention drawn by the new immigration law by spending time in a state park, you might need a back-up plan. Arizona just announced plans to close over a third of their 30 state parks because of an 80-percent budget shortfall.

Some of Arizona’s best-known state parks will be closed this summer, including Picacho Peak in between Phoenix and Tucson, Red Rock State Park near Sedona, and Homolovi Ruins near Phoenix.

The state actually voted to close 21 of Arizona’s 30 parks, but local fundraisers and private donations have helped keep some of the parks afloat through the summer. The town of Payson, pop. 15,000, raised $25,000 to keep Tonto Natural Bridge open, and a tourist from texas donated $8,000 to keep Lost Dutchman state Park open for one extra month.

Tourism to Arizona state parks generates $250 million a year, according to state officials, but a proposal to hike vehicle registration fees by $12 in order to raise state park funds failed.

Plenty of other states (including New York and California) are considering closing their state parks. Want to keep that from happening? Find one near you and donate.

—Ted Alvarez

via NY Times

Image Credit: lazlo-photo

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