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Slide Rock State Park Reports Steep Decrease In Visitors
Slide Rock State Park is suffering a 98 percent decrease in visitors in the wake of a recent wildfire near the popular recreation area. But, park officials hope to attract more people to the park with reduced entrance fees.
The fire that burned the north of Slide Rock in May is completely out but a lot of people don’t know the state park has reopened for hiking or a picnic. Swimming in Oak Creek is off limits until September because of concerns over poor water quality from erosion after the fire. State Parks Director Bryan Martyn said Slide Rock usually has 40,000 visitors a month in the summer but in June only 2,000 people showed up. Martyn said there’s an incentive to try to bring tourists back.
"We’ve reduced the rates there in half from $20 to $10 a car," Martyn said. "We’re trying to get bus loads out there. Those people can come in for $2.00 apiece. So, we’re doing everything we can to get people into Oak Creek.”
Each visitor to Oak Creek Canyon typically spends about $60 and Martyn said nearby Sedona is seeing a significant drop in tourist spending. The falloff in visitors comes just as Fodor’s travel magazine named Slide Rock among America’s top 10 state parks.