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Privatizing state parks might do more harm than good

Published: July 1, 2012

“State parks could gain from free-market effort” (Our Views, June 22) stated that California is privatizing six state parks; that's 2 percent of their state parks. Oklahoma has privatized 16 percent of its parks to date. Some of the parks that have been privatized have raised rates, others have remained the same, and some have deteriorated since the privatization. Increased rates or deteriorated parks will reduce the state tourism income far more than it will save.

Oklahoma has tried lease agreements before; Western Hills State Lodge had a lease agreement until it had no rooms left that were occupiable. Fountainhead Lodge was repossessed by the federal government and is now just an eyesore while Arrowhead lodge, also repossessed by the feds, is now a struggling drug rehab facility. Since Most of Texoma State Park was sold, one of its two golf courses has been closed and the other is too expensive for local golfers to use. The lodge has been torn down, supposedly to be rebuilt. If it is rebuilt, it will also be too expensive for the average Oklahoman to stay there.

Larry Williamson, Oklahoma City