ARIZONA STATE PARKS: For Immediate Release
Managing and conserving Arizona’s natural, cultural and recreational resources for the benefit of the people, both in our Parks and through our Partners. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Ellen Bilbrey at (602) 542-1996 or (602) 228-8518. Contact by Email: pio(at)azstateparks.gov

Arizona's Rural Communities Rescue State Parks from Closures. Good News! 23 Arizona State Parks will Stay Open

(Phoenix, AZ - May 19, 2010) - The Arizona State Parks Board voted today to keep five more State Parks from closing on June 3 by directing Executive Director Renee Bahl to sign unique management and financial agreements with rural communities to keep each one open.

"The State Parks Board, a volunteer group of seven members, has voted in the last three months to negotiate with counties, cities and parks friends groups to fund a total of 23 State Parks to be open into the next fiscal year. The real key now is that we need every Arizonan to use their State Parks as often as possible," said Bahl. "We want the public to know that the Board and staff are focusing on keeping State Parks open because the fiscal impact and loss of jobs from closed parks would be devastating to these rural towns and we believe every Arizonan deserves a robust State Park system."

According to Parks Board Chairman, Reese Woodling, "We have been successful in finding solutions to keep State Parks open, but these are only short term measures. It is a miracle that these communities have raised the funds to keep these parks open so far this year. Arizonans should be proud that so many concerned individuals have stepped forward to lead the communities to cobble together these monies."

"Unfortunately we have lost $10 million dollars from the Heritage Fund to support State, County and City parks and our operating budget has dropped significantly. In two years, the total amount of sweeps and diversions from twelve fund sources that benefit Arizona conservation projects has been $71 million."

Here are some of the highlights of the community efforts: Bashas' Family of Stores (130) raised $20,000, Dasani Water raised $5,000 for recycling programs, Apache Junction businesses raised $26,000 (Lost Dutchman), Tubac Historical Society raised $35,000 (Tubac Presidio), Friends of Tonto raised $8,000 (Tonto Nat. Bridge), Wickenburg/Salome raised $30,000 (Alamo), Riordan Action Alliance raised $40,000 (Riordan Mansion), the City of Eloy has raised $20,000 (Picacho Peak), Benefactors of Red Rock State Park have raised $60,000, Friends of Oracle State Park have raised $50,000 and Yuma raised $70,000 (Territorial Prison). The Arizona Game and Fish Department helped Graham County rescue Roper Lake State Park and Apache County will keep Lyman Lake open this summer. Arizona Highways Magazine has already sold more than 100 magazine subscriptions to support State Parks and the increased tourism these subscriptions will generate will help increase park revenues.

Please call ahead to find out the latest information about the State Parks by calling (602) 542-4174 (outside of the Phoenix metro area call toll-free (800) 285-3703) or visit AZStateParks.com. Follow us on twitter.com/AZStateParks.

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