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State park system deserves increased support

October 22, 2012
The Mining Journal

A relatively obscure committee has recommended the state to find ways and means to improve its park system.

According to The Associated Press, the 16-member panel, made up predominately of nature conservancies, trail groups, environmental advocates and recreation specialists who Snyder appointed some months ago to make recommendations on the state park system's future, tendered its report to the governor late last week.

In a nutshell, AP said the document calls for finding new funding sources for parks, including seeking bonding authority to reduce a backlog of maintenance needs. It also proposes re-establishing the State Parks Foundation to accept private donations, AP reports.

Other recommendations include, but are not limited to, improved marketing efforts, development of additional regionally-connected trail networks and establishment of a handful - perhaps as many as five - so-called signature parks to assist in the revitalization of certain urban areas, said AP.

We've used this space on several previous occasions in recent years to voice our support for the development and improvement of the state park system, because, dollar for dollar, it's hard to find a better investment for state money than state parks. They act as magnets for tourists and hubs for naturalists. They provide employment in both the public and private sectors.

We hope the governor takes the report under very serious advisement, although we don't expect a whole lot, in terms of reaction, until after the election.

Under any circumstance, we don't believe we're not talking about huge dollars here. But we are talking about a huge impact.



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