The world flies in and takes a long look at Arizona, the Grand Canyon State (see our Photo Gallery, our Arizona Gallery, and our Grand Canyon Trails Page). And soon after arriving in Phoenix, they fall in love with all the other gems Arizona has to offer: preserved yet accessible desert wilderness areas and wildlife refuges, such as the Lost Dutchman State Park in Apache Junction.
But now Arizona’s lawmakers are preparing to vote on budget cuts that could shut down the entire state parks system by July 1. And that vote in January 2010 might result in the sale of state parks to the highest bidders. That’s right: I’m hearing that once an Arizona state park is closed, it must be sold: Land speculators and developers will mutilate our public gems, our community wilderness. They will restrict access, and Lost Dutchman State Park will become a gated community or a private suburb, with lot and house prices starting at $700,000 or more.
Here’s a group of hikers who will show you how to protest the closure of Arizona’s state parks: visit the Take a Hike message board and web site.