State Capitol News
1:17 am
Tue February 3, 2009

State Park closures put on hold

Phoenix, AZ – Members of the state Parks Board balked today at a proposal to
shutter eight locations, saying they wanted to see if there were
better alternatives. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer
reports.

Agency Director Ken Travous said closing the parks was the best
way to deal with the nearly $4.9 million lawmakers took from the
department's operting budget and $17.3 million raided from
special funds, all to deal with a $1.6 billion deficit.

But board
members first want to explore other options, ranging from closing
all 27 state parks two days a week to seeing if certain parks
could be open only during the times of year when they attract the
most visitors. And Eileen Gannon, great-granddaughter of
Flagstaff pioneer Tim Riordan, said there may be legal problems
with what Travous wants to do, at least as far as the Riordan
Mansion.

(I do believe that there is a clause that needs to be checked
into with the deed restriction as far as if it's not operating as
a park it reverts to the family. We don't want to see that. I
don't think you want to see that.)

Sierra Club lobbist Sandy Bahr also urged board members not to
rush any decision, particularly if they think that closing the
parks will force lawmakers to reconsider the budget cuts.

(I would like to be able to say, you know, close a few parks and
that'll show them. But frankly I don't think they care.)

The board directed Travous to bring a menu of options back to
them at a meeting now set for Feb. 20.