State Senate Panel Votes to Keep Arizona State Parks Board

Mar 23, 2017

A bill introduced in the state legislature proposed scrapping the Arizona Parks Board and handing power over to its director. Now, a Senate panel has voted to keep the board intact. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

The Verde River flows through Dead Horse Ranch State Park near Cottonwood. It's one of more than 30 state parks and natural areas managed by the Arizona State Parks Board.

The original bill proposed doing away with several state boards and committees its sponsor says are outdated and rarely convene. It was passed in the House last month.

But the Senate Government Committee amended the legislation Wednesday to keep the Parks Board. The citizen group oversees more than 30 Arizona parks and natural areas, and many worried doing away with it would limit public oversight and transparency.

The Senate’s move follows allegations that the State Parks director, Sue Black, made inappropriate comments and berated staff. An investigation cleared her, but Gov. Doug Ducey’s office says it’ll work with Black on management issues.

The six-member State Parks Board is made up of volunteers and was founded in 1957.