Threat of State Park Closures “Ridiculous”

According to state Senator Mary Jo White, Gov. Rendell ordered every department secretary to issue press releases, blasting the Senate’s proposed budget and the “meanâ€? cuts that would ensue. With regard to the list of state parks that could close, the senator has publicly said what many Pennsylvanians have already known: “this is just ridiculous.”

SB 850
will reduce funding for state parks by only 17 percent from 2008-09 and only 14 percent from the governor’s proposed budget. However, despite this relatively small reduction, John Quigley, acting secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), continues to proclaim that up to 40 state parks will have to close due to lack of funding. That amounts to 34 percent of named state parks.

How does a 17 percent cut in funding close 34 percent of the state’s named parks?

In other words, acting secretary Quigley, like the Secretary of Tourism, deliberately misled the public with exaggerated claims of program cuts in order to vilify the Senate’s proposed budget. Of course, this would be a non-issue if the state simply privatized the state parks.