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From the Houston Chronicle this evening. I hate to see this. galvbay

July 15, 2006, 4:59PM

Official: 18 state parks may close

Associated Press

AUSTIN - Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials are warning that 18 state parks may close if lawmakers don't spare the struggling agency from mandatory budget cuts ordered by Gov. Rick Perry.

Dozens of full-time jobs may also vanish and local parks would suffer $4 million in cutbacks if the department complies with Perry's request for state agencies to trim budgets by 10 percent, executive director Robert Cook said Friday.

"I'm not (saying) this because I want to scare anybody - but these are some of the things we're seriously looking at," he said.

Cook said the state's "big money losers" include the San Jacinto Battleground in Baytown and the LBJ Ranch in Johnson City, but he said both weren't good places for cutbacks.

"I've got to look somewhere else," Cook said.

Cook delivered the grim outlook to a special committee examining the ongoing shortfalls of the 600,000-acre state park system. Agency officials say a tight budget has forced 100 positions to be eliminated or left unfilled and that aging equipment is deteriorating under a backlog of repairs.

Texas ranks 49th among the 50 states in per capita spending on parks. The agency's current budget is $56 million, and its new appropriations request is due to lawmakers Aug. 16.

A spokeswoman for Perry said the governor opposes the shutdown of historical sites, but that the agency should consider options for parks that receive few visitors.

"The governor has an excellent relation with Parks and Wildlife (and) the governor does have a concern about the adequacy of funding for the parks department," spokeswoman Kathy Walt said.

Cook told his agency's State Parks Advisory Committee that forced budget cuts could mean the loss of 44 full-time positions and the absence of game warden cadet classes during the next two years.

He didn't say which parks may close but said the focus would be on historical sites that traditionally attract the fewest visitors.

The agency's advisory committee released a draft report Friday that said the parks system needs another $100 million annually to maintain its current operations. The report states that the state park operating deficit is $6 million to $8 million annually.

"Every day that passes without action leads to further deterioration of park infrastructure, loss of historic resources and dissatisfied customers," according to the report.
 

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Highball !!!!
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its time to get rid of gov perry and vote somebody in that will cares about our state parks instead of putting a toll road clean across texas(trans texas corridor) its time for new blood in austin
 

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not good

Cook said the state's "big money losers" include the San Jacinto Battleground in Baytown
Well no figgin kidding. That was a beautiful place when I was a kid but for the last 15 years it seems it has been under construction and or renovation. Nobody wants to go visit scaffolding! I went to a pretty nice looking county park today. Looked to be well maintained and was a nice place to be.

Zac
 

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Purveyor of Worthless Knowledge
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Good idea....let's rank 50th. Texas needs more money in parks not less. Maybe we could take some of the money we spend on welfare invest it in the parks create jobs and expect people to work. No that makes too much sense for goverment to do.
 
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