Arizona to close additional 13 state parks
The Arizona State Parks Board has unanimously voted to close 13 additional state parks in response to massive budget cuts.
Among the parks affected are popular landmarks of Arizona's old west including Tombstone Courthouse and the Yuma Territorial Prison.
Popular RV camping destinations Picacho Peak near Tucson, Lost Dutchman in Apache Junction and Alamo Lake will close along with several others.
Some of the closures are immediate, while others will come later this year.
"We don't have a choice. It's either shut them all down right now or shut them down in phases, and we're picking the ones that cost the state money," said head of the Arizona Parks Board Reese Woodling.
The board decided not to close parks that make money, including the 423-acre Dead Horse State Park along the Verde River in Cottonwood. It says, however, that parks that remain opened will be managed "passively," without patrols or improvements.
The Arizona legislature has cut 61 percent of the state parks' budget since July, including an $8.6 million budget reduction during a special legislative session in December.
"These are very dark days for Arizona State Parks," said the state's parks executive director Renee Bahl.
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