Volunteers Scramble to Protect Closed State Parks

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

State parks from one end of the United States to another face closure as a result of budget cuts imposed by lawmakers, prompting volunteers to step forward to keep some facilities open.

In New York, Parks Commissioner Carol Ash said her agency is planning to shutter 55 parks and historic sites and cut back services at 24 facilities, unless the legislature restores funding for the programs. But the cuts may put the state in violation of federal law requiring the parks remain open as part of the funding received from Washington.
In Arizona, officials have slashed state-park funding by 80% and recently closed five of its 30 state parks, some of which contain precious archaeological pieces from Indian cultures, like Homolovi Ruins State Park. The Arizona Historical Society is willing to pay the expense of keeping a historic mansion in Flagstaff open temporarily, while the city of Camp Verde is doing the same with a historic fort.
The Arizona State Parks Board is negotiating agreements with organizations and local governments to keep four parks open, although three of them would be managed by other non-state entities.
In Idaho, the Brother Speed Motorcycle Club—considered by many state officials to be a bunch of outlaws—have said they will work to maintain Thousand Springs State Park, located near the Snake River. The locale has played host to the club’s annual Memorial Day gathering for 35 years. According to a report by Simmi Aujla of the Associated Press, in March, members of the club planted maple trees, while working alongside college students, a Mormon group and members of a square dancing club.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Hopi Ruins at Risk after Ariz. Closes State Parks (by Gillian Ferris Kohl, National Public Radio)
Motorcycle Group Races to Rescue of Idaho Parks (by Simmi Aujla, Associated Press)
Future of State Parks, Historic Sites in Limbo (by Jessica M. Pasko, Troy Record)


Leave a comment