Jun 7, 2011 at 6:11 am #1275038Jun 7, 2011 at 6:23 am #1745921
@knaightLocale: Western Massachusetts
My house borders a state park with 20 miles of spectacular trails. I run there several times a week, and the lack of funds is obvious. For one, they're closing the park at 6 PM right now, when it was 8 PM last year. Can't afford the extra staff. The roads are falling apart, which has led to a 2 mile section that leads to a fantastic viewpoint being closed. This keeps things quieter around that section, but it also keeps the public from seeing how great this place is and why it's worth taking care of. It's a shame.Jun 7, 2011 at 7:37 am #1745945
@aaronmbLocale: Central Valley California
It is rather sad.
California voters recently said 'No' to an additional $12 "DMV fee" that would have [supposedly] went to the state parks. I understand that the majority (blah blah blah)…but I'm broke and I voted Yes.Jun 7, 2011 at 7:43 am #1745947
drowning in spamMember
And what's funny about that is that our new Governor is trying to stall the reduction in DMV fees that was supposed to go into effect on July 1st.Jun 7, 2011 at 7:44 am #1745948
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
CA seems to have more SPs amenable to backpacking than most (next closest is TX Big Bend State park-all else out west seems to be federal). Seems foolish (as in penny-wise and pound foolish) to for CA to mount a national ad campaign for tourists, while looking to shut down attractions to drive visitors away or affect their planned travels to such a big draw.
Also read where California SPs make lots of $ for their respective communities (edited for brevity)Jun 7, 2011 at 7:53 am #1745954
California voters recently said 'No' to an additional $12 "DMV fee" that would have [supposedly] went to the state parks
(assuming DMV is Dept of Motor Vehicles here) I'm not from California but would have argued against that fee. I'd much rather that DVM fees be spent on roads and other automotive related infrastructure … provided that ALL automotive related infrastructure funding be restricted to automotive related fees.
Regarding park funding … I buy a MN state parks annual pass for both the family vehicles rather than pass up a visit to a park just because we're in the "wrong" car and several years ago when a parks employee was apologizing for an increase in cost when I bought an annual pass I cut him off in mid sentence to say "No apology needed, why would I feel bad about supporting our great park system?"
Note that I'm not in the "all government services should be 100% user fee based" camp but I do feel that the users of most government services should have some personal skin in the game that is directly connected with their use.Jun 7, 2011 at 8:20 am #1745976
A true shame. Lots and lots of other places to cut waste in state government besides parks.Jun 7, 2011 at 1:20 pm #1746149
@jmathesLocale: Southeast US
Here in Georgia every vehicle entering the park pays $5 or purchase an annual pass for $50Jun 7, 2011 at 1:32 pm #1746154
A friend who's in the Pine Ridge Association (volunteer organization to support Henry Coe State Park) sent me this link: http://coeparkfund.org/index.html
I haven't decided how I feel about this. I'm thinking about sponsoring 10 acres or so, but then again I really feel that I'd prefer it to be done with a tax increase or reallocation (as I feel about most items that need balancing in our state budget) rather than putting the burden for state park support on private individuals. But I haven't made up my mind yet what to do; I will probably end up donating in hopes of averting a closure.Jun 7, 2011 at 1:34 pm #1746158
@richardglyonLocale: Bridger Mountains
What worries me the most is the inevitable long term political "solution" to this problem. Sooner or later (probably sooner) many states will start to sell off non-productive state land, including parks, to the highest bidder. And if the park is truly scenic, the highest bidder is going to be a real estate developer. Maybe The Nature Conservancy or similar organization will step in and buy one or two of outstanding beauty or biological significance, but ordinary green space will become high-end homes. Time for volunteers to step up, as the Times aricle indicated.Jun 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm #1746159
When they close these parks do the rivers, waterfalls, trees, and bird sounds get turned off?
I've actually been thoroughly enjoying myself in my local closed forests. It's totally weird…everything I go there for seems to have been left running.Jun 7, 2011 at 1:43 pm #1746160
Yes, one of the volunteers at Coe I spoke with a couple of weeks ago said that the son of Richard Pombo (former U.S. congressman and real estate magnate extraordinaire) was out there "checking the place out". That idea gives me the creeps. Pombo is apparently buying up a bunch of land just east of the park and developing it now. He was also one of the people pushing to run the high-speed rail line through Coe. If you look him up on Wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Pombo ) it reads like a horror story to me.Jun 7, 2011 at 1:54 pm #1746163
@jbmcsr1Locale: Rocky Mountains
Yes, there are a lot of other places to cut waste in all government. But so very rarely do our governmental officials make those cuts. What I'm coming to realize is that when the public says they want smaller government and they refuse or turn down tax increases to do that. Instead of cutting administration, benefits, and wasteful programs, the government cuts programs that will affect the public the most so that there will be an outcry and an increase in tax revenues. "We want a smaller government." And so the city stops watering the parks and picking up trash. Will they reduce the number of adminstrators, meetings, or regulations? No. Instead they decide to close a few parks and swimming pools so that they don't have to change the system.Jun 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm #1746164
@knaightLocale: Western Massachusetts
I get you on how everything still exists for us to go see, but one important function of state parks is to remind the public why we need to protect the environment and natural places. Your average person isn't just going to up and take a backpacking trip or go hiking in a local park. They might drive up to a viewpoint, visit a ranger station, and take a walk down a nature trail.Jun 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm #1746180
Good point Jason, and the voters keep putting those same nitwits right back in office.Jun 7, 2011 at 3:30 pm #1746194
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"Will they reduce the number of adminstrators, meetings, or regulations? No. Instead they decide to close a few parks and swimming pools so that they don't have to change the system."
If people really cared, there is a time honored solution to this one: Throw the bums out. All of 'em.Jun 7, 2011 at 3:33 pm #1746195
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
DO NOT TRUST POMBO….HE IS A BADMANJun 9, 2011 at 3:43 pm #1747153
@richardglyonLocale: Bridger Mountains
I once thought that limiting revenues would help get rid of government waste, or at least some of it. But even with tax ceilings, looming deficits, state constitutional restrictions on spending, or the like the politicians don't change priorities to be frugal or spend what's available any more wisely. The recently ended biennial Texas legislative session is a classic example. Smaller government doesn't mean smarter or more efficient government. All of which spells big trouble for those priorities (such as state parks) that can't contribute to re-election campaigns.Jun 14, 2011 at 12:47 am #1748924
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
One thing I have seen over the years is that during a 'budget crisis' policticians are going cut the following:
– State Parks
It gets the public attention and helps the politicians gain support to raise taxes and pass bond issues for these 3 AND other pet projects.
I use federal and state lands a lot and do not mind paying for their use. I buy a couple of annual passes every year.
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