Recently we held a series of fact-finding meetings for Arizona legislators and the executives of Arizona State Parks. We held the meetings at a pair of public parks that are virtually adjacent to each other in Sedona, AZ. Both parks are similar in size, facilities, and visitation. The only difference is that one is operated by the state agency, and one is operated by Recreation Resource Management under concession agreement with the US Forest Service.
The key finding? While the state-operated facility requires hundreds of thousands of dollars of appropriated money, above and beyond gate fees, to remain open, the privately-operated park actually generates positive cash flow for its agency.
See all the details in this short case study, in pdf format: A Tale of Two Parks.
Since that meeting, Arizona legislators requested a specific proposal of what Arizona State Parks might be appropriate for private operations, and how much money the state might save. The summary of our response is here: Potential Test of Private Operations in Arizona State Parks.