Arizona Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (State Park System)

Arizona is in a fiscal melt down.  They need to balance the budget.  The state is going to have to get creative to do so without slashing everything to the bone.  In a move that I just can’t seem to understand, they appear to want to take all the money from the State Park System (which isn’t even funded with general fund monies).  The problem is that it will virtually eliminate the park system.  A system that attracts tourists to the state in tune of $266 Million a year not including sales tax revenues.   This is just bad business.  Cutting a profit center to cover expenses elsewhere.

I admit I am biased here.   One of the reasons I live in Arizona is because of it’s deep history and beautiful wide open spaces.  I enjoy them so much that I purchased an RV so that I could travel the state and admire it’s beauty.  I buy both the State and National Park passes almost every year and get out and enjoy them.  They are one of the best deals on the planet.

So today, I urge you to talk to your representative and tell them to not close the park system, but before doing so please consider buying an annual pass for $50.00 to show your support.  Here are some of the great parks in our system. We have taken the RV to those in bold.  Those that are red have already been closed.

Alamo Lake State Park
Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park

Buckskin Mountain State Park
Catalina State Park
Cattail Cove State Park
Dead Horse Ranch State Park
Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area
Fort Verde State Historic Park
Homolovi Ruins State Park
Jerome State Historic Park (Park Closed)
Kartchner Caverns State Park
Lake Havasu State Park
Lost Dutchman State Park
Lyman Lake State Park
McFarland State Historic Park (Park Closed)
Oracle State Park (Park Closed)
Patagonia Lake State Park
Picacho Peak State Park
Red Rock State Park
Riordan Mansion State Historic Park
River Island Unit
Roper Lake State Park
San Rafael State Natural Area
Slide Rock State Park
Sonoita Creek State Natural Area
Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park
Tonto Natural Bridge State Park
Tubac Presidio State Historic Park
Verde River Greenway State Natural Area
Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park
Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park


  1. Completely agree. What’s worse is that we have to fight dozens of proposals to raid state park funds each year, even in good economic times. It’s amazing to me that Arizona can be blessed with such cool places, that bring so much money to the state, and yet we don’t have a premier state park system. The fact that we may become the only state without ANY state park system is utterly and completely unbelievable.

  2. You make a great point about buying annual passes. I’ve previously viewed these purely in cost/benefit terms, carefully assessing if I will visit enough times to make the pass a good investment. Given the state’s financial predicament and your thoughtful post, I now see these passes more like museum memberships. The annual fee funds worthwhile programs regardless of how often I take advantage of them.

    I’m not much for RVs or camping, but I enjoy good day hikes. The Maricopa County parks, which ring the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, offer good trails and facilities within an hour of Downtown. An annual pass costs $75, and I’ve been erratic about buying one over the years. Now, I think I’m going to buy one no matter how much I intend to use it, and I’d urge other hikers who value the county parks to do the same if their budgets allow.

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