No Plans To Privatize Cloudland Canyon State Park

Source: Robin Ford Wallace, Dade County Sentinel, May 15, 2013

Bobby Wilson, manager of Cloudland Canyon State Park, said after a public hearing last week he had heard no rumblings from on high that the state planned to farm his park out to a for-profit company for privatization, as the state has announced it will do with several other state parks. But judging from Wilson’s presentation at the May 9 hearing, going corporate in Cloudland Canyon’s case would be a redundancy or simply a formality: The park is already operating in a businesslike way, with both eyes trained steadily on the bottom line. … What Wilson had to present for the future was what he called a “business plan,” and what he had to report from the past few years, though he called it “exceeding 100 percent of cost recovery,” translated to what most companies would call turning a healthy profit – 135 percent revenues-to-investment for 2012. … The park also depends heavily on its volunteers. Describing the 2012 successes of the park during the meeting, Wilson said a new marketing arm of the nonprofit Friends of Cloudland Canyon State Park had been a great deal of help in attracting visitation. A small investment in certain targeted advertising had resulted in the park’s becoming a Mecca for the bride-and-groom trade, he said. “There were weddings and weddings and more weddings,” he said. “We’ve never seen anything like that.” …