Bureaucrats threaten park closures

According to published reports, state bureaucrats are threatening to close up to 16 state parks due to a pending 14 percent budget cut for the next fiscal year.

Officials from the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department told staff members to be prepared for another decrease in funding.

The list include 16 state parks, one state golf course, 80 full-time employees, the Oklahoma Today magazine and the Miami Travel Information center.

Proposed park closings include:

  • Talimena
  • Great Plains State Park
  • Cherokee Landing State Park
  • Natural Falls State Park
  • Red Rock Canyon State Park
  • Great Salt Plains State Park
  • Lake Eufaula State Park
  • Lake Wister State Park
  • Alabaster Caverns State Park
  • McGee Creek State Park
  • Foss Lake State Park
  • Osage Hills State Park
  • Greenleaf State Park
  • Lake Texoma State Park
  • Grand Lake State Park
  • Grand Cherokee Golf Course
  • Boiling Springs State Park

The parks wouldn’t necessarily close but operations could be turned over to cities, towns and counties.

Tulsa attorney Gary Richardson, who is exploring a run for governor in 2018, wants Governor Mary Fallin and the chair of the Oklahoma Tourism Commission, Lt. Governor Todd Lamb, to explain the wisdom of raiding the State Park Trust in order to build a new hotel at Lake Murray State Park.

“The State Department of Tourism Director said that half of Oklahoma State Parks could shut down due to budget cuts,” said Richardson.  “Yet Governor Fallin and Lt. Governor Lamb just weeks earlier celebrated the raiding of the State Park Trust Fund in order to build a government-run hotel.”