Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Arizona Lost Dutchman State Park to close in June

In mid-January, the Arizona State Parks Board voted to approve the phased series of closures starting Feb. 22, culminating with the June 3 closure of Lost Dutchman, which attracted nearly 100,000 paid visitors last year. The closures were announced after the state swept $8.6 million to grapple with severe budget woes.

Ellen Bilbrey, spokeswoman for Arizona State Parks Department, said the closures were based on the economic performance of parks and not targeted according to locations or other considerations.

"It's a fiscal problem and it calls for a fiscal solution," Bilbrey said. She said although 99,000 visitors paid to enter Lost Dutchman in 2009, it cost $276,000 to keep the park opened, and revenue fell short by $9,000 last year. By comparison, Cattail Cove State Park at Lake Havasu, which will remain open, saw 85,000 visitors but is operating in the black, with more than $10,000 left over after costs.
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