Conservation Commissioner N. Gunter Guy responded Wednesday to recent media coverage regarding the possible reduction of services in Alabama’s State Parks. “We appreciate all the support that organizations and the people of Alabama have shown for their state parks, particularly over the last few weeks as potential budget cuts have been discussed,” he said.
“By working with legislators and the Governor’s Office, we have come up with a budget strategy for FY 2014 to absorb funding reductions in other areas of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The return of these park maintenance funds will be especially helpful for planned campground renovations and other park upgrades. The state park system will continue to undergo operational changes and remain efficient in its programs during 2013, and we will continue to be good stewards of public funds and state resources. We are optimistic that we can use this time to have a public dialogue about the future of state parks, and survey our customers, the general public, and the communities where our parks are located to better understand their expectations and interests,” Guy said.
Guy noted that programs and facilities within Gulf State Park have historically been an important element of the park system’s operational model. “The potential economic impact of the proposed Gulf State Park lodge and conference center remains an important consideration for Alabama’s tourism and the long-term financial sustainability of our park system. We will continue working with legislators, the coastal communities and other partners to make that possible,” he said.
Alabama State Parks Director Greg Lein said Alabama’s State Parks will be commemorating its 75th anniversary in 2014. “As we work toward the 75th anniversary, we want to remind our supporters that the vast majority of the park system’s operational funds come from park visitors. Your parks are open, and our staffs are ready to serve. We encourage everyone to get outside and enjoy their public lands and visit Alabama’s State Parks,” Lein said. To learn more about individual parks and their amenities, visit www.alapark.com.