A Louisiana Legislative Auditor report released Aug. 8 criticizes the Louisiana Office of State Parks’ (OSP) site-specific operational decisions based on annual visitation and cost data.

The OSP is responsible for operating and managing 22 state parks and 18 historic sites across the state. Like many other state-park systems, the Louisiana OSP is facing budget and staffing reductions, the St. Tammany News, Slidell, La., reported.

The audit report also concluded that Fontainebleau State Park in St. Tammany Parish, rear Mandeville, has the highest annual visitation rate and net revenues compared with all state parks and historic sites in Louisiana.

The report also states that because of “budget and staffing issues,” OSP has “reduced the hours of operation at state parks and historic sites and increased entrance fees at historic locations.

The state auditor suggested five means of using data to better manage day-to-day operations at sites under OSP’ control including:

  • Calculating the cost per visitor.
  • Spending more money on maintenance.
  • Adjusting operations based on seasonal visitation.
  • Increased use of differential fees that better reflect various amenities.
  • Sharing of staff among parks and historic sites that are in close proximity to one another.

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