By Senator Hinkins
Senate Chair of The Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Quality Appropriations Committee
“Budget cuts” is a common phrase around the State Capitol these days. Committees are making tough decisions to put our budget in balance and the Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Quality Appropriations Committee is no exception.
Based on an audit made last year at the request of the committee, State parks are facing a $3 million dollar cut, stirring rumors of park closures. The committee has no intention of permanently closing any state parks. We’re working on a five-year program to help parks become more self-sufficient and less reliant on state funding.
Of course, while permanent park closures aren’t anticipated, there is no guarantee. For now, seasonal closures will likely take place. These closures will potentially occur in parks where visitors are limited during the winter months, thereby causing the park to lose significant funds through maintenance and staff. We’re working closely with park directors. The directors and auditors will present their plans to the committee next week. Remember, these things take time. With a five-year plan in the works, nothing will be closed overnight.
Budget cuts are always tough, but sometimes necessary. This year, the Natural Resources Agriculture and Environment Quality Appropriations Committee, like all other committees, was asked to help make the Utah State government more streamlined and efficient. The committee is dedicated to doing this while still addressing community needs – especially in rural Utah where state parks play a vital role in the local economy.
Stay tuned for updates on our committee page.