Idaho’s governor wants to transfer state parks to Dept. of Lands. Folks fear loss of access to the Henry’s Fork-

Arizona may shut down two-thirds of state parks. Associated Press

The deep recession is taking a big hit on state parks in many states; even those parks that are big money makers.  Arizona has already closed 5 parks and might close 2/3 of them.

Last year in California, the governor wanted to close most of its huge state park system. He was rebuffed.

In Idaho, Butch Otter, wants to abolish the State Department of Parks and Recreation and transfer the function to the State Department of Lands whose mission has been resource extraction, land sales, and which has a close relationship to the grazing land barons.

One of the gems of Idaho’s state park system is Harriman State Park in Island Park. Its 11,000 acres was a donation from the Harriman family. The Henry’s Fork Foundation is worried that the terms of the gift might require the park be taken back.

Idaho governor puts Harriman Park access in jeopardy. West Yellowstone News. Given the large number of visitors, including access to 8 miles of Henry’s Fork, one of the world’s greatest trout streams, this is false economy.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

10 Responses to Arizona might close 2/3 its state parks-

  1. avatar jdubya says:

    False economy indeed. My inclination has been to pass through Idaho on my way to the better fishing streams of Montana but I usually manage to flail the waters of the Henry’s Fork for a day or two enroute. But if the Ranch gets closed off for fishing, I’ll probably just grab a coke in Last Chance and keep driving north.

  2. avatar mikepost says:

    Recent federal cases have reaffirmed that stated donor conditions and intent for the acceptance of cash grants or asset gifts (land, etc) must be honored or the gift can be reclaimed.

  3. avatar Nature rules says:

    As an Arizonan I can say that for over a year our state has tried to pass a budget, no go, governor Brewer has tried I give her that, but her own party has fought her tooth and nail on any ideas she has proposed. all they have done is cut social services, education, and fight amongst themselves. Now the repub’s are going to run against the repubs. cause they can not agree in our upcoming election. And they have blocked out any budget plans the dems have tried to introduce. Tourism is the number one revenue this state has, yep, close them parks, who needs the tourists money! Slide rock and Sedona will be safe, that is where all the rich folks go, and live. the folks that live there could loosen up their wallets and support the parks in Sedona a couple years if they had to, and I bet they will. so will Flagstaff. but the smaller area parks will not have that luxury, like Tonto Bridge, it is small, and located in Payson, which is not a rich town. They closed it last year for a few months then re-opened it, but if they close it now, it will not re-open for a while I am sure, as the city of Payson can not afford to float it. Just like other states, we have some real loony ideas floating around to save money or generate it. CA is thinking of legalizing Pot, and taxing it 50.00 per ounce, I am sure if they were not in so much trouble that would never come about, and Arnie wants to open up off shore drilling, that will not happen, CA always stops that. I hope they do so again this time. AZ legislators needs to get real and fight for the middle class and lower class, not just the rich folks that live in this state..

  4. avatar vielfrass says:

    Seems to me that all taxpayer money is being spent overseas instead of building up the good ol USA.

  5. avatar Wilderness Muse says:

    Ralph,

    What, in your view, is the rationale for Otter dissolving IDPR? Is it purely reducing administration costs and trying to live within reduced budget, or is there a more sinister motive behind it? Does he have enough votes in the legislature to pull it off?

  6. I think he never liked the State Parks Department, and I think its creation was related to donation of land to create Harriman State Park by the Harriman Family — they insisted the state have an agency dedicated to managing their donation and other state parks.

    My guess he will back down on this. A lot of the budget cutters are from places where the state parks are. They will probably hear from the constituents with clout that the area can’t take the economic hit.

    I might be wrong because there are some strong ideologues in the legislature.

  7. I worked at Harriman State Park as the YCC director the year Harrimans donated the land. I think there might be a provision in the deed that the ranch goes back to the Harriman family is there is no Idaho State Parks Department to manage it. Butch needs to do his homework before he makes a mess of this.

  8. avatar kt says:

    Larry: Otter. Homework. The two do not compute.

    Vielfrass: Oh, there are other entities the money is likely to be soon going to. Like the Carlyle Group to destroy Spring Valley, and INvenergy of Illinois and other Wind Speculators – to destroy Spring Valley with giant wind farms.

    So that someday the Las Vegas water miners can claim using green energy for water mining and scam carbon credits.

  9. avatar Nathan Hobbs says:

    our state park system is great and serves a wide spectrum of recreation why destroy it and give it to a agency that will manage the ‘recreation’ side of things only as a after thought as they continue to focus on there current agenda and goals.

    We are trying to save all this money today but in reality we are starving our future, education in idaho is getting worse and worse with cut after cut. It seems in College nowdays for me I pay more to get less with all of the recent cuts.

    And now we want to close out the parks, or at least hand them over to a agency where there management will only be a afterthought as they focus on there goals of land utilization.

  10. It is ironic that Otter wants to dissolve our IDPR to save money, yet the state is has filed suit to stop the listing of the threatened Slickspot Peppergrass plant in SW Idaho and is suing the feds over health care reform – both suits will go nowhere and waste thousands of taxpayers funds just to make a political statement.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

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