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State Parks Looking Up Despite $10M Budges Cut

Published on July 17, 2014 at 12:34PM

Credit: Desert News

In the past five years, the Utah Division of State Parks and Recreation has seen a 79 percent drop in general fund appropriations, amounting to almost $10 million. Yet the division’s director, Fred Hayes, said he’s grateful the Legislature sliced the budget. Hayes told members of the Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Interim Committee on Wednesday that the cuts “put our folks in a position where they started to think about their job and that they needed to be more public oriented and offer more to bring people into the parks.”

Despite the drop in state-appointed funds, most of Utah’s 43 state parks have become self-sufficient. The Utah Division of State Parks and Recreation continues to examine the possibility of expanding Goblin Valley State Park to include a 136,000-acre parcel of the San Rafael Swell. Jeff Rasmussen, the division’s deputy director, said one of the reasons for the expansion would be so the park would be able to pay for itself.