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Sen. Burns files bill to require Legislative approval on removal of state park status

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. George Burns, R-Pollard, has filed a bill to require legislative approval on decisions by the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Commission that would affect a property’s status as a state park. 

Burns pointed to the Commission’s decision in 2013, removing the state park status of Hugo Lake Park—a decision he said negatively impacted local economies and eliminated funding for the upkeep and modernization of facilities used by park visitors. 

“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.”

Senate Bill 1129 stipulates that if the Tourism and Recreation Commission votes to terminate, cancel, or not renew a lease for property a state park is located on, and that decision results in the removal of a property’s status as a state park, that action cannot occur without the approval of the Legislature.

“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.”

For more information, contact Sen. George Burns at 405-521-5614 or email