Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and her administration created and signed a bill that will sweep another 8.6 million dollars from the current 19.3 million dollar State Parks budget. The agency's budget had already been slashed by 27% in September of 2009. Enough funds have now been taken from the Arizona State Parks system to severly impact its operation, forcing the indefinite closure of the majority of the parks.
Four parks have already been closed due to previous budget reductions, and another 13 parks are now scheduled to close indefinitely, starting with 3 parks on February 22nd and the final 5 parks closing on June 3rd.
The parks on the closure list include hiker's favorites such as Picacho Peak, Lost Dutchman, and Red Rock State Park. They also include some of the most significant historical sites such as the Tombstone Courthouse, Fort Verde, the Yuma Territorial Prison, and the Tubac Presidio.
These parks have been bought, donated and created since the 1950s to protect the natural and historical resources within them, but also to offer a low-cost recreation and education opportunity for locals and tourists alike. State Parks are a treasure to Arizona and a magnet not only for families but for the numerous winter visitors as well.
Visitors to state parks enjoy hiking, fishing, camping, picknicking, birdwatching, boy scout campouts, and many other activities that are not available elsewhere in their neighborhood.
The local economies of cities and towns, as well as the State's economy, rely heavily on revenue from tourism. About 2.3 million tourists visit Arizona State Parks annually, creating an estimated $266 million dollars in revenue gain for rural Arizona economies.
State Parks offer something positive for everyone.
We the undersigned strongly oppose the dramatic budget cuts and resulting indefinite closure of 21 of the 30 Arizona State Parks.
The recreational and educational opportunities that State Parks provide are an invaluable resource, especially during tough economic times when other alternatives are often too costly for many of Arizona's families.
We also own it to future generations to make sure that we take good care of our cultural heritage sites, as they are irreplaceable and could easily be lost forwever.
State Parks as an agency was established in 1957 to protect natural and cultural sites for the people of Arizona. However, one equally important main goal was to make these sites available to the public for their enjoyment.
By enacting these severe budget cuts and by closing most of the State Parks the legislature is taking away this opportunity.
We the undersigned urge the legislature and the governor to reconsider their decision.
Please join us in the quest to save Arizona State Parks.
The Stop Governor Brewer from closing Arizona State Parks! petition to Arizona Governor's Office was written by desertcritter and is in the category Government at GoPetition.