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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Closing State Parks?

News Radio 1000, KTOK is reporting that House Democrats are gearing up for a fight against the closure of seven state parks in Oklahoma.  The reasoning for the proposed closure is financial - the state of Oklahoma is running on empty and the Tourism Department's budget is lean (except for the $3 million per year paid to a local ad agency, of course).

Ultimately, we have to ask ourselves what will happen when these state parks are closed.  At Lake Texoma, the famed Catfish Bay area was sold to developers where upscale vacation homes were built.  It's public knowledge as to who was involved in the transaction and you can't blame the wealthy for seizing an opportunity handed them by members of the Oklahoma governmental structure.  Much like the Bass Pro Shops deal, one cannot fault Bass Pro for being given a sweetheart deal...

State Parks are affordable means of outdoor activity for the average Oklahoman.  Even those who are middle or low income can find a weekend get-away with the kids an inexpensive yet exceptional way to truly experience the great outdoors.  The closure of state parks and the eventual sale of the property to wealthy developers is tantamount to public hunting land being sold to out-of-state outfitters who, in turn, charge ridiculous fees for hunting and the taxes go to another state.

Once you lose state park land, it never comes back.  It is gone forever.