The Future of State Parks

State parks across the nation are struggling to stay open: Arizona has decided to close 13 parks, New York is considering closing 41 parks, Washington is thinking about closing 40 parks, and Louisiana spent $13 million on a new park that will never open.

The future of state parks can be found in the private sector, a solution Arizona is currently considering. One private company, Recreation Resource Management, has offered to lease from Arizona six of the parks the state was planning on closing. Recreation Resource Management, has an impressive resume; already managing over 150 federal, state, and local parks.

Leasing contracts ensure all expectations by the state are met, including pricing limits, development restrictions, and general operation requirements. Privately operated parks can be more efficiently run, allowing the company to maintain a high quality park at less of a cost than state-controlled parks. The state also benefits because it transfers the debt responsibilities from the taxpayers to the private company; additionally, the state parks stay open, a win for everyone.