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Report: Ariz. must act quickly, decisively to save state parks

October 16, 2009

Morrison Institute for Public Policy will hold a news conference Oct. 22 to publicly release its report, The Price of Stewardship: The Future of Arizona State Parks, and to make researchers and Arizona State Park officials available for questions by the media.

An embargoed copy of the report will be available upon request to news media after Oct. 19 so reporters can be briefed on the issues in advance of the news conference, which will be held at 9:30 a.m., at Morrison Institute, 411 N. Central Ave., Suite 900, at the downtown campus of Arizona State University.

The report lists the dangers threatening Arizona’s 31 state parks, particularly in light of possible state trust land reform, continuing population growth, and budget cuts.

Vulnerable to possible closing, neglect, or vandalism due to lack of funding include:
• Recreation parks such as Catalina, Lake Havasu, Picacho Peak, Slide Rock and Tonto Natural Bridge;

• Cultural parks, including Jerome, the Tombstone Courthouse, Tubac Presidio, Homolovi Ruins, the Riordan Mansion in Flagstaff and the Yuma Territorial Prison;

• Conservation and environmental educational parks, such as Red Rock, Sonoita Creek and the Boyce Thompson Arboretum;

• And Kartchner Caverns, one of Arizona’s crown jewels.

The report, sponsored by the independent State Parks Foundation and Arizona State Parks, offers possible solutions to the funding crisis, including potential revenue options to provide stable, sustainable funding for Arizona’s state parks. Data will be used to help inform a “blue ribbon” panel commissioned by the Governor’s Office on ways to save Arizona’s state parks.

The report was prepared by Morrison Institute for Public Policy, an independent, non-partisan center for public policy research, analysis and public outreach. Morrison Institute is part of the ASU College of Public Programs.

For information or to receive an embargoed copy of the report, contact Nicole Haas, communications manager.