On privatizing parks
Regarding “Private-sector touch could help state parks” (Our Views, Nov. 18): All branches of state government rely on taxes. Parks are no different from any other area of government. State parks weren’t set up to be money makers, they were set up because they are fundamental to who we are. Our parks are managed to be great places to learn state history, experience the beauty of our state, and reflect on the fact that as a citizen you not only reside in Oklahoma, but you and fellow Oklahomans own beautiful places across our state. When taking family camping trips to Red Rock Canyon State Park, I told our young children we were visiting our ranch in Caddo County. Did our boys groan with, “Oh Dad!” Sure they did, but I was making a point that these special places belong to them, and I think they got it. Public land ownership drives a deep commitment in me, and it should in you also.
If we turn over management of a park to a private enterprise, their goal becomes generating a profit for themselves and we forfeit part of our soul in the process. Let’s visit our parks. Let’s teach our young people ownership and commitment. Let’s take the high road and act with vision by keeping our state parks managed in our state’s longterm best interest, by public servants not by private for-profit entities.
Keep parks in the hearts and hands of the people.
Brian Walter, Kingfisher