Parks and Re-Cessation – Closing state parks… smart financial choice?

Source: Elizabeth Daigneau, Governing, May 2010

Once again, state parks are on the chopping block. To balance deficit-riddled budgets, legislatures in many states-including California, Arizona, Pennsylvania and New York, to name a few-have made huge cuts to parks’ funds. Those moves come despite a recent uptick in the number of people visiting the parks-more than 725 million in 2009, according to the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD). Still, closing state parks is a relatively politically palatable option….These cuts may be politically feasible, but they may not actually help the fiscal bottom line. According to the NASPD, visitors to state parks across the country helped generate $20 billion in revenues. That’s an incredible return on investment, given that the overall budget expenditure on state parks nationwide is less than $2.3 billion.

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