Proposed State Budget Cuts Threaten Parks and Trails

State funding for conservation, parks, and recreation is at risk all across our region, threatening our access to beautiful public spaces.

State budgets throughout New England and the Mid-Atlantic include proposed funding cuts to conservation programs and investments. In Pennsylvania, for example, Governor Corbett’s proposed 2012-2013 budget contains massive cuts to environmental, recreation, and conservation programs, including a complete and permanent elimination of funding for conservation, park, and recreation programs under the Keystone Fund. This loss of $30 million dollars is the single largest cut to conservation ever proposed in the state.

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s operating budget has been cut by nearly 30% since FY 2009, forcing layoffs of about 250 staff positions, and a reduction in the work force of nearly 25 percent. It is expected that when the FY2013 budget is finalized, the parks will continue on their downward funding trend from 2012. These cuts mean that additional parks will not open, some will have reduced hours, and others a shortened season. For many residents seeking to enjoy outdoor activities like camping and swimming, there are few alternatives nearby. The Massachusetts park system is the ninth largest in the country, and the 30 million annual visits to these parks generates significant economic benefits. Stay tuned to the Conservation Action Network for future alerts and ways to take action to stop these dramatic cuts!

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