Idaho is lucky to have such variety in its 30 state parks from the sands of Southern Idaho’s Bruneau Dunes to the lush timber and lakes of North Idaho’s Priest Lake State Park.
An Idaho Public Television show (Outdoor Idaho), which airs at 7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 8, will look at the state of those parks.
The hour-long special explores the history of state parks, how the parks are fairing in today’s economy and the value of state parks to Idaho residents.
The program comes at the right time to draw attention to the plight of state parks, which supporters say are becoming unsustainable because of budget cuts. The general fund budget for state parks was lashed from $6.3 million in 2009-10 to $1.4 million in 2010-11. The state agency ended up losing 80 percent of its state general fund money. That also meant a loss of 20 percent of its staff.
State parks are important to the economy of local communities and for the state as a whole. One report says they have an economic impact to the state of $40 million annually.
Advocates fear that state parks are in such a crisis that a new group has been formed to find ways of helping preserve and maintain the parks. It’s Friends of Idaho State Parks. For more information, go HERE.
Photo of summer activities at Eagle Island State Park by Pete Zimowsky/Idaho Statesman