Oklahoma town may take over state park's operation
Jul. 11, 2018
HINTON, Okla. (AP) — A town west of Oklahoma City is hoping to take over operating a state park that may face closure.
Hinton officials have submitted a proposal to operate or have another entity operate the Red Rock Canyon State Park. The state and town already have a management agreement that allows Oklahoma to still own the park, the Journal Record reported .
Town officials approached the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation about taking over the park after it was added last year to the state's list of parks considered for closure.
"It would be detrimental to our sales tax collection," City Administrator Matthew Mears said. "We really did not want that to happen."
Red Rock Canyon State Park was once a Native American campsite during the winter and a rest stop for people on their way to find gold in California. Park visitors can rappel, hike, walk on nature trails and swim.
Hinton taking over park operations would save the state money, said Leslie Blair, spokeswoman for the tourism department. The park's self-sufficiency rate hasn't been more than 50 percent over the last four years, excluding it from the category of parks that generate revenue, she said.
Parks operations make up the majority of the department's budget. State Parks Director Kris Marek has tried to implement an admission fee for some of the parks to offset operational costs, but that charge hasn't gained momentum outside Tourism Commission meetings.
Information from: The Journal Record, http://www.journalrecord.com