Lost Dutchman Park Fundraiser Planned for Tonight at Motorcycle Dealership; Charity Ride Planned for April

 

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An Apache Junction motorcycle dealership will hold a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. tonight to discuss ways to keep the Lost Dutchman Park open during the state budget crisis.

Mark LeResche, owner of Superstition Harley-Davidson, says all money raised tonight will be handed over to the Arizona State Parks Foundation.

Last week, a guy from Texas made headlines after cutting an $8,000 check for the park.

Arizona State Parks officials say about $25,000 is needed to keep the popular park east of Mesa open through the slow summer months. The park is one of the main gateways into the 160,000-acre federal wilderness area named after a legendary gold miner. It also has campsites and a visitors' center.

Arizona lawmakers made deep cuts in the park system's budget for this year, spurring plans to shutter some of the parks -- including Lost Dutchman -- by June.

About 150 people showed up to a similar meeting at the dealership last week, LeResche tells us.

His store is also organizing an event ride for April 24, and will put the $15-per-person fee toward the parks foundation.

A secondary goal of the meeting tonight is to consider the formal adoption of a Lost Dutchman chapter of the state parks Foundation, which could ensure the park remains open well into the future, he says.

If state officials do close the park, "they'll be taking away a little icon of our community," says LeResche.

On the other hand, it won't mean folks can't access the Superstitions: Visitors can always park at the First Water Trailhead and hike in.

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