The value of state parks

An article published by Drexel University addresses the value of state parks. It also addresses the current economic climate around the country and the effect of budget cuts on state parks.

National parks get all the attention – most recently in the form of a 12-hour Ken Burns documentary and now with the U.S. Mint offering “America the Beautiful” quarters depicting such parks as Yellowstone and Yosemite.

State parks, on the other hand, appear expendable. According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, 26 states have seen reductions in state park funding. With those cuts in funding come reduced staffing and access. However, reductions in access to state parks lessen opportunities for both inexpensive recreation and outdoor experiences.

State parks offer a chance to swim, hike, canoe, or fish and most are within an easy weekend drive. Many state parks give visitors a chance to learn history, participate in a sporting event, or learn a craft. And of course, the natural beauty of parks with lakes, waterfalls, mountains, and forests only enhance the outdoor experience.

According to the National Association of State Park Directors, there are more than 6,000 state parks and those parks receive more than 725 million visitors each year. As more families are looking for ways to save money, state parks offer a way to travel fewer miles and still get in touch with nature.

These are trying economic times and state parks will continue to see budget cuts. Unfortunately there will be more signs saying ‘no services available due to budget cuts.’

The link for the article from Drexel University: http://www.thesmartset.com/article/article06151001.aspx

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