Many of you know that my mom works for Virginia State Parks. She does the social media stuff for them in addition to a lot of other stuff. She works hard for them because she thinks parks are very special places. Other than to talk about how much I love parks and my visits there, we don't talk business on this blog or my Twitter very often.
But yesterday we heard some sad news I wanted to share with everyone. Seems like Arizona will be closing many of their state parks - maybe even all of them - by June. That makes us all sad - those that work for all parks and their families like me. Three hundred people will lose their job. Communities who rely on the tourism that the parks bring in will lose that. Like Virginia's state parks, Arizona raised a lot of their operating money with their own fees, about 40%. Like Virginia I bet that the Tourism and economic impact of the parks more than bring the state and local economy the balance of the $13 million.
Times are tight. The states face horrible budget cuts for essential services and things have to be cut. This same state is selling all of their government facilities to lease them back. But are parks a luxury? We don't think so, but you might have your own opinion. Parks make people feel good and I sure think they need to feel good now. Parks help people be more healthy and we certainly know that this generation of children need to learn healthy pursuits. But when you also consider the parks support the economy, well even a dog has to scratch his head.
My family has all their park staff families in our prayers. We also mourn for the park supporters and volunteers who work so hard and even offered to run the parks as volunteers. Now that's love. And we mourn for the people of Arizona and the state's visitors who won't have the parks to recreate in and to connect with the natural world.