Save the State Park board and Arizona trails

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happyduck
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City, State: Mesa, AZ

Save the State Park board and Arizona trails

Post by happyduck » Feb 15 2017 7:54 am

This came across my plate today and is very alarming. This will affect our State Parks and Trails statewide.

There is a House Bill (2369) that was recently introduced that would eliminate the Arizona State Parks Board and transfer all control and responsibility to the State Parks Director.

The State Parks Board is the only mechanism for citizen involvement and oversight for directors like the one we currently have, and her push to eliminate the Board would give her unilateral control of Arizona’s state parks and trails. This would be bad for the state, even worse for the parks, and could have detrimental impacts to trails and especially the Arizona Trail.

Unfortunately, this legislation was unanimously passed by the House Rules Committee yesterday. Please consider calling and emailing your Representatives to communicate opposition to the measure as it moves to the House Floor.
Please take a moment today and reach out to legislators to voice your personal position. I think it’s important that individuals who care about Arizona’s state parks and trails are aware of what’s happening behind the scenes.

Click here to locate the House Representatives from your district.
Click here to locate the Senator from your district.

One more thing you can do is add your name to the list of individuals who care deeply about Arizona’s state parks and oppose HB2369. Sign onto the “Coalition to Keep Arizona State Parks Board” letter by clicking on: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIp ... Q/viewform. This letter will be forwarded to the Governor and all members of the Senate and House.

Please let your Representatives know Arizona needs to maintain our State Parks Board, and please share this important message with as many people as you’d like.

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flagscott
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Re: Save the State Park board and Arizona trails

Post by flagscott » Feb 15 2017 8:29 am

Thanks for the post. I don't know much about how the state parks are run, but I was looking at the list of current members of the board, and other than the director, it just seems like it's mostly business people plus the state land commissioner, a career political type: https://azstateparks.com/arizona-state-parks-board/ Are these people even qualified to oversee the parks? Would eliminating it make the parks worse off? Do you have any more information about why eliminating the board is a problem? I'm not disagreeing--I'd just like to know more. (Obviously, anyone who is familiar with the sausage factory known as the state legislature knows that the majority party has a disdain for both democracy and public lands, so I don't doubt that you're right--I'd just like to learn more.)

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chumley
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Re: Save the State Park board and Arizona trails

Post by chumley » Feb 15 2017 8:31 am

In a world of news often spread on social media via sources with an existing viewpoint who specifically choose to highlight parts of legislation that supports/opposes their specific view, I encourage anybody concerned enough to contact their legislators to read the complete text of the bill first.

For this specific bill, you may find it online here: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/69177
Click the Documents tab and you can view the bill versions by clicking the HTML link.

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flagscott
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Re: Save the State Park board and Arizona trails

Post by flagscott » Feb 15 2017 8:37 am

chumley wrote:In a world of news often spread on social media via sources with an existing viewpoint who specifically choose to highlight parts of legislation that supports/opposes their specific view, I encourage anybody concerned enough to contact their legislators to read the complete text of the bill first.

For this specific bill, you may find it online here: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/69177
Click the Documents tab and you can view the bill versions by clicking the HTML link.
Ah, so it's a naked power grab by the governor. Eliminate a bunch of committees and put power directly in his hands or his direct appointees, whom he can hire and fire at will. Got it.

It looks like a bunch of conservation organizations have come out against it.

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chumley
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Re: Save the State Park board and Arizona trails

Post by chumley » Feb 15 2017 10:55 am

I can't find information on how the 7 members of the State Parks Board are selected or how long their terms are.

In the original legislation that created the State Parks, the board had to consist of two members representing the cattle and grazing industry, one member employed professionally in the field of parks and recreation, the State Land Commissioner, and three "at large" members. These are not elected positions with any accountability to the citizenry--they are ALL appointed by the governor.

What I can't find is if a new governor can replace the entire board or if board members are appointed for designated time periods, and therefore members may have no particular allegiance to the current administration.

I did learn that the board members are not compensated for their positions except for travel reimbursements, so the cost savings by eliminating the board would be minimal.

But the mission and purpose of the State Parks will not change. The language simply changes from "The State Parks Board shall..." to "The State Parks Director shall..." all the following text remains the same.

With regards to hiking trails and the AZT which was specifically mentioned, I was unsure why this would be an issue outside of the boundaries of State Parks themselves. I did not realize that there is an Arizona State Committee on Trails.
https://azstateparks.com/arizona-state- ... ails-ascot

As far as I can tell, the proposed legislation does not affect the trails committee. These 14 members hold quarterly meetings and encourage public participation. I'd like to know if there is any proposal to eliminate this committee or if the State Parks Director in the absence of a Board will be able to unilaterally get rid of the committee in the future.

If not, public representation and interaction regarding trails will remain largely unchanged through ASCOT.

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cactuscat
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Re: Save the State Park board and Arizona trails

Post by cactuscat » Feb 15 2017 2:55 pm

I actually thought this already happened a while ago.
Our Director is amazing, and I trust her leadership and vision ... as far as what happens after Ducey/Black - who knows?
And yes, our agency's official name is now "Arizona State Parks & Trails". I even got new business cards. :)
Where is the "dislike" button?

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