I saw this incredibly depressing story over at the Daily Dirt, one of Backpacker Magazines blogs. It seems that the bad economy has begun to take its toll on our favorite outdoor destinations, as the state of Arizona has announced that it is closing more than a third of its 30 state parks.
Despite the fact that the parks generate some $250 million in revenue for the surrounding communities on an annual basis, the state elected to move ahead with the closures, with budget shortfalls getting the blame. An earlier plan had 21 of the 30 parks scheduled for shut down, but a fund raising campaign, which included some generous donations from the public, saved several of the parks from the chopping block.
I suppose this is one of those “sign of the times” stories, but it is still quite sad to hear about these great outdoor spaces being shuttered. Some of the places on the list for Arizona include Picacho Peak, a popular 1,500-foot tall “mountain” located between Tucson and Phoenix and Red Rock State Park, found near Sedona. Both parks will close at the beginning of June.
Unfortunately, this probably isn’t the last time we’ll be reading a story like this in the coming weeks either, as nearly every state in the U.S. is scrambling to cover budget shortfalls at the moment.
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