PROBLEMS IN FINANCING PUBLIC OUTDOOR RECREATION   1 comment

State parks are a “gateway to the outdoors” for the public, says Brent Leisure,Texas Parks and Wildlife State Parks Director.  Despite 21% cut in the TPWSP seventy million dollar budget, they are ahead of my native state of Illinois and many others. 

Sitting in a round table meeting at the Texas Outdoor Writers Association Annual Conference in New Braunfels,TX, reminds one of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources economic crises back home in Illinois.  The reduction in the budget for Illinois is 13.5% on top of the catastrophic budgets cuts of the past 10 years.  The slicing of the Illinois budget by over 50% during the past 10 years has caused significant problems in the operation of the IDNR.  

The problems Leisure faces with operating his agency with are not unprecedented.  I suspect it is time to get creative in funding of state agencies like Illinois and Texas. 

Texas Parks and Wildlife State Parks receives 55% of its budget allocation from user fees. Illinois on the other hand appears to have virtually no income from such fees. Texas does have a trade off for user and other fees.  Fishing within the parks does not require a state fishing license. 

Texas still faces many economic problems for the TPWSP beyond the budget.  The past year saw a drought followed by the worst fires in recorded history.  A public plea for donations and some federal disaster funds help defray the costs. 

Leisure describes user fees as the single most effective source of revenue for their department even in this time of economic problems.  They see a reduction in traffic at the state parks and in state park programs.  The other more significant problem facing them is the vast drought and forest fire damage of the past year.  As a result millions of dollars have to be dedicated to mitigating the problems cause in terms of vegetation destruction and soil erosion. 

Leisure maintains that they continue to see the state park as a refuge from life’s stresses in the troublesome economic times.  A sympathy that shared by many outdoorsmen and women nationwide.

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Posted 03/07/2012 by Donald Gasaway in Conservation

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One response to “PROBLEMS IN FINANCING PUBLIC OUTDOOR RECREATION

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  1. Pingback: White Bass Run – Texas Parks and Wildlife [Official] | Bass Fishing Tips Today

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