State park closures and cutbacks to other outdoor activities are among the potential effects of proposed budget cuts to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, officials said Thursday (Aug. 27) before asking citizens to call state lawmakers to ask that they preserve the department’s funding.
The Associated Press reported that department leaders and others gathered at Oak Mountain State Park and said they’ve absorbed millions of dollars’ worth of funding transfers to support the state’s general fund budget in the past four years.
Alabama State Parks Director Greg Lein said budgets that failed to pass during the regular and special session included additional funding transfers that could have severe impacts, and the parks system’s emergency and reserve funds have been depleted.
“We feel an obligation to our partners within the local government, the recreational communities that use these parks and our customers to be honest about our circumstances and to be honest about our concerns,” he said.
State lawmakers will spend a second special session working to pass a general fund budget by Oct. 1, when Alabama’s fiscal year begins. The state faces a projected $200 million shortfall, and Republican Gov. Robert Bentley has tried garnering support for a proposal to generate $300 million in new taxes rather than cut state services.