Good news for the Oracle State Park: park to possibly open on part time basis if funding can be secured

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By John Hernandez

The Oracle State Park which has been closed for almost two years may open on a part time basis next year.

The opening of the park is contingent on a funding plan being worked out between Arizona State Parks and the Friends of Oracle State Park.

At the present time the key to the plan will be for the Friends of Oracle State Park to raise $21,000 in funding for the park. If the money can be raised, the tentative plan calls for the park to open three days a week for student environmental education programs and on Saturdays to the public. Originally the plan was to only open it for the students but the Friends of Oracle State Park fought to have at least one day for the public. Through negotiations the state will budget funds for the re-opening of the park but only if the FOSP can come up with the $21,000 agreed upon. The public and students would have access to the Historic Kannally Ranch House, hiking trails and the high-desert-landscapes of the parks.

Oracle State Park is the only park in the state that is not open.

Cindy Krupicka, President of FOSP, and Treasurer Mary Ann Pogany said that the Friends of Oracle State Park will match donations from the public up to the first $10,000.

“We are excited,” Cindy said. “We have been waiting for two years to get this going. “Let’s get our hidden treasure open again.”

Besides the student environmental education programs, Friends would like to have family environmental programs and activities such as hiking, bird walks, naturalist speakers, garden and grounds tours and tours of the Kannally Ranch house.

“We want to make the Saturdays that the park is open fun for everyone,” Cindy said.

The Friends are optimistic about re-opening the park and hope to open it in the Spring or Fall of 2012.

Help is needed from the public to reopen the park. FOSP will be sending out letters to donors and businesses in the next three weeks. They will also be holding fundraisers. FOSP will accept any donations small or large. For more information on how you can donate or if you have questions about the re-opening contact Mary Ann Pogany at (520)896-9269. If you would like to donate, please send your donation to: Friends of Oracle State Park, P.O. Box 8405, Tucson, AZ 85738.

Besides raising money, volunteers will be needed to assist the Park Environmental/ Interpretive Ranger Jennifer Rinio with the student education programs. You can contact Jennifer at (520) 628-5798.

The park attracts people from areas outside of Oracle and can be beneficial to the economy of the Copper Corridor and Tri-Community. Fun events like the Fiesta de las Calabasas and the Music in the Park Concert Series brought people to the area. With the public’s help these events can be brought back. The park is a great place to picnic, take a leisurely stroll, hike, learn about the environment and local history or commune with nature. A donation to the FOSP is an investment in your community.

For more information about becoming a member, volunteering or making a donation, go to the Friends of Oracle State Park website: www.friendsosp.org or contact them at FriendsOSP@aol.com.

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