OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma lawmaker has filed a bill that he says would help protect state parks.
Sen. George Burns filed Senate Bill 1129, which would require legislative approval on decisions by the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Commission that would affect a state park status.
“It’s my understanding that the decision was made based on incorrect attendance figures, but once the Commission made their decision, it was done,” Burns said. “These decisions can negatively impact local communities and our state tourism industry for years. I think it’s very appropriate for the Legislature to have the final say, and that’s what my bill will do.”
Burns says in 2013, the commission removed the state park status of Hugo Lake Park. As a result, he says the decision negatively affected local economies and eliminated funding for the modernization of facilities used by park visitors.
“Tourism is one of our state’s biggest economic drivers, and our state parks are an essential part of that,” Burns said. “I believe my bill will help us better promote and protect those important assets.”
Senate Bill 1129 stipulates that if the commission votes to terminate, cancel, or not renew a lease for state park property that would remove a property’s status as a state park, the action cannot occur without the Legislature’s approval.