Alabama May 'Rob' the State Parks Fund
Some Alabama state parks could be in trouble. A bill drafted by the House would take money from the parks and put it in the general fund instead, WAFF-TV, Huntsville, Ala., reported.
These funding cuts would force some parks to shut down completely, others to close for part of the year, and most to lose certain facilities.
It is at the expense of both park visitors and park employees who may see reduced work hours or be let go.
Chad Shoemaker and his family are spending the week outside at Monte Sano State Park in Huntsville.
"It is the only place around here we can spend time as a family and go camping with my boy," said Shoemaker.
Soon they may not be able to come here as often as they like.
"There is a shortfall to the state budget in Montgomery and they are just trying to find ways to cover the shortfall," explained Monte Sano Park Manager Kent Wilborn.
Covering the shortfall means taking $5 million from the parks and putting it toward the general fund. However, that money is what the parks currently depend on for upkeep and repairs.
"We have about 800 facilities throughout the state parks. We have roofs to cover, repairs to make, electric bills to pay. It all adds up," said Wilborn.
If House Bill 154 passes, there is a plan in place as to what will happen to each park.
Monte Sano would shut down three days a week during the winter.
"You can still walk on the trails, but there may not be anyone there to pick up the litter or clean the rest rooms," explained Wilborn.
Eight-year-old Evan Shoemaker isn't happy to hear this news.
"I would be mad and sad. They shouldn't take money away, so people can enjoy it whenever they want," he said.
And neither are his parents, who have been coming here since they were kids.
"I understand there has to be cuts, but I think it's a shame they have to take money from the state park system. It seems like there are a lot of other ways we could save money," said Chad Shoemaker.