State Parks board expected to close 13 Ariz. parks

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PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona State Parks Board is expected to vote Friday on a proposal to close 13 state parks in response to the state’s budget crisis.

The Legislature has cut 61 percent of the parks department’s $19.3 million budget. The agency now needs cash to replenish the drained account so it can continue operating in the next fiscal year.

The proposed cuts spare some of the most popular parks including Kartchner Caverns, Slide Rock and Lake Havasu. But other popular parks including Tonto Natural Bridge and Lost Dutchman are slated for closure.

Board members closed five parks last year for budget reasons. Two-thirds of Arizona’s parks would be shut by June 3 if the board adopts the recommendation of parks staff.