A bill has been introduced in the Arizona House of Representatives that would eliminate the Arizona State Parks Board. This board provides citizen oversight to state parks; without it, all of the Board’s authority will be transferred to the State Parks Director, who works at the pleasure of the governor.
We do not want our state parks managed unilaterally by the governor! This move could endanger the funding and sound management of our park system.
Action Item: HB 2369 is slated to be heard in the House Government Committee this Thursday, February 2 at 9:30 am. Flagstaff’s own representative, Bob Thorpe, sits on this committee. Please contact Representative Thorpe and let him know that you support citizen oversight of our state parks and oppose the elimination of the State Parks Board!
Representative Bob Thorpe
Below are the specific roles and functions that the current seven-member State Parks Board oversees:
- Select areas of scenic beauty, natural features, and historical properties now owned by the state, except properties in the care and custody of other agencies by virtue of agreement with the state or as established by law, for management, operation, and further development as state parks and historical monuments.
- Manage, develop, and operate state parks, monuments, or trails established or acquired pursuant to law, or previously granted to the state for park or recreation purposes, except those falling under the jurisdiction of other state agencies as established by law.
- Investigate lands owned by the state to determine in cooperation with the agency that manages the land which tracts should be set aside and dedicated for use as state parks, monuments, or trails.
- Investigate federally owned lands to determine their desirability for use as state parks, monuments, or trails and negotiate with the federal agency having jurisdiction over such lands for the transfer of title to the Arizona state parks board this state.
- Investigate privately owned lands to determine their desirability as state parks, monuments, or trails and negotiate with private owners for the transfer of title to the Arizona state parks board this state.
- Enter into agreements with the United States, other states or local governmental units, private societies, or persons for the development and protection of state parks, monuments, and trails.
- Plan, coordinate, and administer a state historic preservation program, including the program established pursuant to the national historic preservation act of 1966, as amended.
- Advise, assist, and cooperate with federal and state agencies, political subdivisions of this state, and other persons in identifying and preserving properties of historic or prehistoric significance.
- Keep and administer an Arizona register of historic places composed of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant in this state’s history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, and culture that meet criteria that the board director establishes or that are listed on the national register of historic places.
- Accept, on behalf of the state historic preservation officer, applications for classification as historic property received from the county assessor.
- Adopt rules with regard to classification of historic property.
- Monitor the performance of state agencies in the management of historic properties.
- Advise the governor on historic preservation matters.
- Plan and administer a statewide parks and recreation program.
- Prepare, maintain, and update a comprehensive plan for the development of the outdoor recreation resources of this state.
- Initiate and carry out studies to determine the recreational needs of this state and the counties, cities, and towns.
- Coordinate recreational plans and developments of federal, state, county, city, town, and private agencies.
- Receive applications for projects to be funded through the land and water conservation fund and the state lake improvement fund on behalf of the Arizona outdoor recreation coordinating commission.
- Provide staff support to the Arizona outdoor recreation coordinating commission.
- Maintain a statewide off‑highway vehicle recreational plan.
- Collaborate with the state forester in presentations to legislative committees on issues associated with forest management and wildfire prevention and suppression.