Alabama State Parks Eye Spending Cutback
Many consider Gulf State Park the jewel of the state park system in Alabama and it is easy to see why. From the Gulf of Mexico to the waters of Lake Shelby, it is unique. Full of natural beauty and adventure.
"Our park has the most occupancy and generates the most revenue for the state parks," according to director Lisa Larraway.
But the money-maker for the state park system, along with 21 other parks, is on the budget chopping block to the tune of an estimated $5 million, WKRG-TV, Mobile, reported.
"Whatever is going to be cut from conservation is most likely going to come from state parks so we will feel a big hit if any of the changes if they do take funding away from us then we will feel it across the board in state parks," says Larraway.
Some of the things they are thinking of doing is laying off employees, cutting back park hours and charging to park at places like the state pier.
"This is the one that funds everything," said Mike DeFrain who is retired from the park system. "This is the most beautiful park. The rest of the state parks feed off this one."
For DeFrain and others, it doesn't seem right that Gulf State Park should suffer at other, less successful parks expense. "If they start charging for everything they do and start doubling up the cost of stuff we'll head to Pensacola and go," says pier regular Jerry Gregory.
For now, all of the proposed changes are just that, proposals. "Nothing is written in stone," says Larraway. What eventually will happen will be up to the politicians in Montgomery.
Governor Bentley's answer for funding the park system is building a convention center at Gulf State Park.
BP fine money would be used for the construction.