Editor: Something smells fishy on the banks of Lake Havasu at the new Havasu Riviera State Park.

As an Arizona and Lake Havasu City resident, I have concerns about the direction the Arizona State Parks and it’s partners Havasu Riviera Marina LLC, Desert Land Group LLC, and the City of Lake Havasu are taking. Especially in regards to daily and annual access fees for entering State Parks and using Park facilities, boat ramps and Arizona waterways.

After discussions with the Arizona State Parks Director of Development and reviewing the contract, I found no specific method for collecting access fees to the new Havasu Riviera State Park. This omission of methods has resulted in much confusion and concern by future users of Havasu Riviera State Park. In my estimation this new State Park is no different then any other Arizona State Park operated by the State of Arizona or a concessionaire working on behalf of the State to collect access fees for use of public lands and boating access.

In a Nov. 19, , article published by Today’s News-Herald, titled “High Expectations”, contradictory statements were made in this article. Firstly, that Public Comment Meetings will determine how entry fees will be managed and applied to the contract by the State. Secondly, the statement by Desert Land Group that they “believe it’s been decided” and are waiting for a response from the State. It seems to be a foregone conclusion that Desert Land Group will reap all revenue from boating access to the detriment of Arizona residents and our out-of-state guests who use State Park access passes for park entry and state waterway access.

There has not been a public comment meeting on the new Havasu Riviera State Park, since the inception of this gone sideways project in 2016. This has been confirmed to me by the Western Regional Manager and new Director of Development of Arizona State Parks.

If Arizona State Parks, Havasu Riviera Marina LLC and Desert Land Group LLC, would like public comment from at least one local Arizona resident on how to mange entry fees in the best interests of the users, here’s my proposal and how it benefits everyone involved:

Arizona State Parks should contract with Havasu Riviera Marina to sell and manage daily and annual access passes at the entrance station of Havasu Riviera State Park. Or, the entrance station could be staffed by State Park personnel for selling and managing entry access passes. Arizona State Parks could also if it chose to, charge a concession fee.

Arizona residents and out-of-state guests would be able to use one entry pass for access to all Arizona State Parks with access to State amenities, concessionaire services and rental’s, and boat ramp to Arizona waterways for one daily or annual fee paid to the Arizona State Parks general fund. This is especially important if the facilities at Havasu Riviera State Park are full to capacity. Other state parks nearby could be accessed by the same state park pass.

Arizona State Parks would receive fair compensation for use of public lands and fulfill its responsibility to utilize public lands in the best interests of Arizona residents and our guests. It would also reduce accounting cost’s and managing quarterly and annual revenue reports and estimations Havasu Riviera Marina LLC and Desert Land Group LLC would receive fair compensation from concessionaire services of boat slip rentals, water craft rentals, dry boat storage, fuel and pump out services, restaurant and bar sales and any other services required by their customers. And, reduce accounting requirements for reports and estimations to Arizona State Park’s for contract management. 

Arizona State Parks and Trails, on behalf of all Arizona residents, do not commercialize boating access to Arizona waterways at Havasu Riviera State Park, or any other state park. Do not deviate from the best practices that have worked so well for the State of Arizona with annual park and boating access passes.

Do not acquiescence to private business interests that would set precedence for future or present State Parks. Do not disrespect the wishes and expectations of Arizona residents and visitors to the Arizona Park System.

Antonio Martinez

Lake Havasu City

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