I am a huge fan of our Arizona State Parks under the leadership of Governor Ducey’s appointed Director, Sue Black. The State Parks and trail systems that they also create and manage are wonderful recreational destinations for our families and tourists.
Even better yet, the State Parks Department was given the mandate to operate under a self-supporting business model, and they do – last year seeing increased revenues over previous years.
It is unfortunate that our State Park Department is limited in how much of its revenue can be reinvested back into the parks that they manage, and into creating new parks. For example, this year, the State Parks Department requested that they have access to $14 million of their collected revenues; however they were limited to spending only $12.8 million.
The State Parks Department also manages the Off Road Vehicle (OHV) decal fund, which was enacted by the Legislature for creating and maintaining trails and recreation opportunities for off-road users. During the 2016 budget sweeps, the OHV fund was slated to pay $4 million into the general fund on July 1st, instead of using it for its intended purpose; improving and creating trails and recreation opportunities. With the unanticipated increased revenues that the general fund received during the 2016 budget year, the State needs to reconsider sweeping the OHV fund, and instead restore it to be used as the Legislature intended.