Latest Briefs from RV Parks & Campgrounds
From the Star Tribune, Minneapolis
Xcel Energy Inc. must remain on the sidelines of a legal battle that could decide whether the utility’s coal-burning power plant in Becker, Minn., must cut emissions to reduce haze over Voyageurs National Park.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Janie Mayeron on Wednesday denied Minneapolis-based Xcel’s request to intervene in a federal lawsuit by the National Parks Conservation Association and five other groups against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The suit accuses the agency of not enforcing air pollution rules at Xcel’s Sherco power plant — a charge EPA has denied.
Mayeron said Xcel had no legal right to join the suit even though it could cost $280 million for new pollution controls. Xcel has denied allegations by the U.S. Interior Department that the plant’s emissions cause haze, or reduced visibility, over Voyageurs in northern Minnesota and Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior.
From the Eagle Tribune, North Andover, Mass:
Anyone who hasn’t seen a New Hampshire State Park license plate isn’t alone. There are fewer than 1,200 of them statewide.
The state’s conservation — moose — plate has proven quite popular, with nearly 45,000 vehicles sporting them. But the state parks plate is not enjoying the same results.
The plates have been available for purchase since May 2, 2011, but year to date for fiscal year 2013, just 1,193 plates are on the road.
That’s a disappointing number for state officials, who saw the plate as a new revenue source for the self-funded state parks system.
House Bill 1620 established the special license plate in 2010 and the plates became available a year later.
For $85, plus a first-time new plate fee of $8, a car owner gets free admission to any of the state’s day-use parks, including the popular beach parks in Hampton and at Wallis Sands. The plate covers admission for passengers, too.
“It’s a great deal, but there’s an upfront hit,” said Amy Bassett, state parks department spokeswoman.
From the Rapid City Journal:
South Dakota could see a record amount of camping in state parks and recreation areas this year, Parks Director Doug Hofer said.
A prolonged winter set back visitation but the trend appears to be turning with the weather. Nearly all of the 4,190 campsites at state parks and recreation areas were filled over the Memorial Day weekend.
From The Associated Press:
The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has launched a review of water use at Peninsula State Park as part of a project designed to help improve water efficiency across the state park system.
The DNR has hired a Franklin-based plumbing company to test Peninsula State Park's toilets, pipes and other plumbing for leaks and gauge the plumbing's efficiency.
After the plumbing company files its report the DNR will decide what improvements to make immediately at the Door County park. The project includes a follow-up review in May 2014.
The study is part of a project aimed at developing recommendations to cut all state parks' water use and costs.
From the Charleston Daily Mail:
It's been a rough past 12 months for West Virginia's state parks system.
Last June, a system of severe wind storms termed a derecho wreaked havoc on much of the state, causing damage to many of the 36 state parks. Just as cleanup efforts from the derecho were winding down, along came Sandy.
Kenneth Caplanger, chief of the Division of Natural Resources, said the derecho caused $1.3 million in direct and indirect losses. "We took a very large revenue hit, but business was just starting to pick up and get back to normal when Superstorm Sandy came through," he said.
When Sandy hit last October, it caused damage to six state parks and one wildlife management area.
Much of the debris, fallen trees and property damage have been repaired or removed in the following months, but one park remains closed and others still bear signs of the storms.
Brad Reed, district administrator for the parks system, said most of the damage from Sandy at Blackwater Falls, Canaan Valley, Holly River, Hawks Nest, Kumbrabow State Parks and Plum Orchard Wildlife Management Area has been repaired.
Only Cathedral State Park remains closed.
Hoy Murphy, public information officer for the DNR, estimated damage from Sandy cost the parks system more than $200,000.
Reed said cleanup costs from both storms, which so far have totaled well over $1 million, have been handled by a combination of in-house and contracted workers.
Thanks to reimbursements from the state Board of Risk and Insurance Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Murphy said the parks system has "largely been made whole for the majority of expenditures."
From West Fair Communicaitons, White Plains, N.Y.:
As usual, all of Connecticut’s 140 state parks and forests were open for Memorial Day weekend.
What makes this year special is that the park system is celebrating the start of its 100th season.
“The 2013 summer season promises to be one of the very best in the history of our park system,” Daniel C. Esty, commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said in a press release. “As we head into the celebration of the Centennial of our parks it is more attractive than ever for families to get out and have fun in the outdoors.”
The park system has a number of projects under way. The Connecticut State Parks mobile app is up and running, nearly a quarter of the 100 new, rustic camping cabins are now open and several renovations and utility upgrades are in progress.
In Fairfield County, the Sherwood Island State Park in Westport is having solar photovoltaic panels installed to improve energy efficiency and water conservation.