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House passes Senate bill offering hope for State Parks

Today, the Arizona House of Representatives passed an important measure to help save our valuable state parks from closure. Senate Bill 1349 allows local governments, private companies and Indian tribes to temporarily take over operations and management of the parks.

“The bill provides flexibility for negotiating agreements with outside entities,” said Sen. Barbara Leff, the bill’s sponsor. “This common-sense solution serves as a bridge to keep our parks open and running until other options can be presented and considered.”

The Senate unanimously passed SB 1349 in early March. Now that the bill has been approved by the House, it heads to Gov. Jan Brewer’s desk for her signature.

During economic tough times, budgetary constraints have left little funding for state parks, but this bill will provide an alternative to closure without a cost to taxpayers. The partnerships would expire in June 2011.

“The parks are an economic engine for Arizona,” Sen. Leff said. “This bill provides an outlet to keep the parks – and our tourism industry – alive and thriving.”

Already, one company has announced it is prepared to run six parks currently slated for closure. SB 1349 will help make that possible.


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