Tuesday, January 24, 2023

State Sen. Burns files trio of measures related to Oklahoma state parks

Burns files trio of measures related to Oklahoma state parks

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. George Burns, R-Pollard, has filed three pieces of legislation related to state parks and their operations.

Under Senate Bill 673, entrance fees could only be charged for travel trailers and recreational vehicles and could not exceed $8. Those fees would be used by the state parks where they are collected.

“The needs of our state parks and the people visiting them are always changing,” Burns said. “Reducing costs will encourage more visitors, and the fees that are charged will go directly back to that park for upkeep and improvements.”

SB 675 would transfer Hugo Lake Park to the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department.

“This attraction hasn’t been classified as a state park for the last decade, and local economies have been negatively impacted over time,” Burns said. “Transferring this park back to the Tourism and Recreation Department would open the door to more funding for this scenic recreation area and allow for modernization.”

SB 3 provides that the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Commission must obtain legislative approval if it decides to cancel or not renew a lease for real property upon which a state park is located or takes action resulting in the loss or change of ownership of a state park.

“As we have seen with the Hugo Lake Park, changing ownership of a state park is not always the best solution. If this issue arises again in the future, this measure would require the Legislature to decide whether to renew the lease. This bill ensures legislators can better support what is best for the citizens they serve and what's best for the state's tourism and recreation industry.” Burns said.

These measures can be heard when the legislative session convenes on Feb. 6.


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