Restoring the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund

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Restoring the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund

Post by Sredfield » Feb 04 2019 9:32 am

ADVOCACY ALERT - SB1241 Restoring the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund
Janice Miano, President, Arizona Heritage Alliance wrote:Dear Friends of the Heritage Fund

I’m excited to let you know that a bipartisan group of Arizona state senators has introduced Senate Bill 1241 (“SB1241”) to restore the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund (“Fund”). Senators Brophy McGee, Boyer, Carter, Kerr, Navarrete, Otondo and Pratt have introduced SB 1241 - state parks board: heritage fund- for restoring the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund.

The bill has been assigned to the Natural Resources and Energy Committee and is on the agenda to be heard this Wednesday, February 6 at 2:00 p.m. in SR109. Here is a one page summary of SB1241 for your reference.

We request that you please submit your position through the Legislature's "Request to Speak (RTS)" system. If you don’t have an account for the Legislature’s Request To Speak System, please link here for detailed instructions. In the meantime, please call or email the following legislators and let them know you want them to SUPPORT SB 1241.

State Senator Phone Email
Sylvia Allen 602-926-5409

Andrea Dalessandro 602-926-5342

David Gowan 602-926-5154

Sine Kerr, Vice Chair 602-926-5955

Juan Mendez 602-926-4124

Jamescita Peshlakai 602-926-5160

Frank Pratt, Chair 602-926-5761

From the time Arizona voters approved the creation of the Fund to the Great Recession when it was defunded and removed from statute, the Fund served our state well with its dedication to parks, outdoor recreation, open space, non-motorized trails, outdoor and environmental education, and historic preservation. It is our hope that this Legislature restores the Fund after satisfying all other current encumbrances, and to bring the Fund back to effect in a responsible and deliberate manner.

Why the Fund is important. Arizona's local, regional, and state parks and recreation facilities are economic development generators that encourage the spending of tourist dollars, attract businesses whose workforce choose jobs in locations with quality of life benefits, strengthen community cohesion, and increase property values. Historic preservation initiatives in our rural communities and urban areas promote economic development by creating jobs, revitalizing historic areas, increasing property values, and promoting heritage tourism.

Thank you for all the work you do to improve our state's quality of life and to support the reinstatement of the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at or call 602-528-7500.

Janice Miano
President, Board of Directors
The Arizona Heritage Alliance
The bear went over the mountain to see what he could see.

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Re: Restoring the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund

Post by Sredfield » Feb 04 2019 10:57 am

Thanks to HAZ for cleaning up that post, I'd do it if knew how.

Here's a bit more explanation:

Arizona State Parks can be fixed - if Gov. Doug Ducey is willing. Will he accept?
Linda Valdez, Arizona RepublicPublished 6:00 a.m. MT Dec. 2, 2018

Opinion: Not all the problems at Arizona State Parks happened on Ducey's watch. But the remedy is up to him.

Here’s one constituent letter
Ducey can turn it into a love letter to all of Arizona and a down payment on his legacy.

The constituent letter comes from the Arizona Heritage Alliance, an impressive group of people who know and care about our state’s remarkable cultural, historical and natural treasures.

The letter asks Ducey to restore $10 million a year in Heritage Fund money for Arizona State Parks & Trails. The funds were taken away in 2010.
Parks lack money for maintenance

Heaven knows, the Parks need money.
• They no longer get any money from the state’s general fund, and the price of deferred maintenance has been rising for years.
And heaven knows Arizonans wanted the Parks to have the money.
• The dedicated funding was overwhelmingly approved by voters in a 1990 citizens' initiative, which tapped the Lottery – not the general fund – for the money.
The letter reiterates how this money was used under the plan spelled out in the citizens’ initiative:
• For recreation and open space development, restoration or renovation.
• For outdoor and environmental education initiatives and non-motorized trails.
• For operation, maintenance or repair of parks and natural areas.
• For historic preservation and archaeological projects.

The last one is of particular interest.

Former director fired after complaints

In mid-November, Ducey fired former Parks Director Sue Black and her former deputy Jim Keegan.
It came after years of complaints about Black’s management.

It also came as Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich continues investigating whether laws protecting Native American and other archaeological sites were ignored on Black’s watch to facilitate development at the Parks and raise revenue.

These alleged breaches happened after the citizens’ oversight power of the State Parks Board was gutted.

Ducey asked to heal the agency

The letter asks Ducey to “heal the agency, its staff, the State Parks Board, and concerned citizens who care about our natural, cultural, and historic resources.”
He can make this a priority in his second term under the banner of fixing somebody else’s mistake.

After all, the evisceration of the Parks Board in 2012 and the loss of the Parks’ Heritage funding in 2010 both happened before Ducey took office.
What's more, reversing those changes is a matter of simple fairness.

• The Arizona Game and Fish Commission, a citizens' group that sets policy for the Game and Fish Department, retained the power that was stripped from the Parks Board.
• Game and Fish, which manages Arizona wildlife for hunting, fishing and conservation, also retained its $10 million a year share of Heritage funding, which was included in the original voter-approved initiative.

Why do some outdoor groups get preference?

The so-called “rod and gun” constituency that relies on Game and Fish for their sport has a strong voice in the Legislature – and that’s why that agency retained both citizens’ oversight and Heritage funding.

But State Parks have a statewide constituency that, while not as organized, should not be ignored.

Hiking, boating, fishing, birding and exploring Native American culture. You can do that and more at these Arizona State Parks.
Parks serve an essential role in an increasingly urban Arizona, providing outdoor recreation for everyone and bringing tourism to rural areas.
The State Parks are a vast treasure house of Arizona’s past and present, ranging from the Yuma Territorial Prison to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum to Lake Havasu to Kartchner Caverns to the ancient ruins at Homolovi.

Properly protecting and managing this heritage demands a dedicated funding source and good citizen oversight.

How Ducey can make this right
Sure. Sue Black was Ducey’s appointment. That was his mistake.

But two detrimental changes at Parks pre-date Ducey:
• Unlike previous directors, Black did not answer to a strong and active Parks Board; she clearly needed that kind of citizen scrutiny.
• What’s more, the rush for development to raise revenue might not have happened if the Parks had retained the Heritage money that Arizona voters wanted them to have.

Ducey can begin fixing those problems and answer the letter from his constituents as he crafts his State of the State speech. He can do it with a pledge to restore the Parks' share of Heritage Fund money and reinvigorate the Parks Board.

Then he can shepherd those changes through a Legislature that will be more diverse next session and more in need of visionary leadership.

Reach Valdez at
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Re: Restoring the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund

Post by Nighthiker » Feb 05 2019 7:13 pm

Thank you for posting been working on this for awhile. I encourage those who enjoy Outdoor and Outback Arizona to contact their state legislators to pass this bill.

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