Amid $2.38 million cut, state parks will remain open

(Wyoming) - Amid the state budget cuts announced last week, The Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources announced yesterday it received a 7.8%, or a $2.38 million, cut to its funding. At this time, no parks or historic sites will close. "All programs will be affected," said Milward Simpson, Director of the Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources. The largest cuts are in the areas of Park Operations, the State Historical Society, Wyoming Arts Council, and Central Administration Services. "What we've done successfully though is work carefully to implement these reductions without compromising the core mission of each one of our programs." "It will impact the quality and level of services we're able to provide at some of our state parks ... the public will notice and it might be painful," Simpson said. "People will see fewer seasonal employees and fewer maintenance workers. We'll also have fewer grants to give out to public, and we'll be making cuts to our travel expenses which will make some of our departments, especially archaeology, more difficult." Water-based parks received a $1.2 million cut; however, the department was able to off-set this cut by dipping into the motor boat gas tax. "Although this is a loss for the boating community, this helps us absorb some of the cuts without compromising the mission of the reservoir-based parks," Simpson said. At this time State Park fees will not increase; however the department is looking at this as a viable option to off-set costs. Use fees are set by state law which means they can't be adjusted without legislative action. Over the next month the department be studying a draft bill to increase fees. Simpson noted they're looking at setting a cap which they'd be able to work within depending on funding needs. This is the fourth round of cuts that the Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources has received since 2009. Simpson noted it's becoming more difficult to sustain these cuts, and this is likely the last round of cuts they'll be able to absorb without compromising the core mission of each one of their programs. #county10 #county17 #shortgo #buckrail #dally #reboot #springcity #oilcity #news