From Washington to Florida and New York to Idaho, state budgets are reeling from a combination of reduced property and sales tax revenue. Numerous state parks are already on the chopping block, in an effort to reduce budgets with minimal impact to union jobs and social services.
“The reality is the governor has ordered cuts in programs that do not directly affect the health and welfare of people.” — Chuck Ardo, press secretary for Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, from The York Daily Record.
The potential park closures come at a particularly tough time for many people who are planning to save money in 2009 with a family vacation to one of their state parks, in lieu of more expensive destinations. State parks offer the public all of the outdoor recreational benefits of their better-known national park cousins, but with lower fees and more affordable travel expenses – important considerations for families squeezed by the current economic conditions.
These potential park closures are an important consideration for families making summer vacation plans next month. The typical reservation window for parks is six months, but with the future of many parks still in jeopardy, people should have backup plans in case their park is closed. Reservations could be important, though, as fewer choices combined with more families trying to save money, could mean increased competition for the state parks that survive.