Budget Cuts Hit State Parks

By: Paul Aker
By: Paul Aker

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If you like to do a little fishing, or just hang out at state parks, trouble with the Kansas budget might leave you a little disappointed.

The state's financial problems mean facilities normally open this time of year are closed.

The state cut $1 million out of its park fund. It's a big blow to parks, which started with only $1.8 million at the beginning of the budget year.

But some say park managers are taking away something they've already paid to have.

Problems with the state budget whip through the park. Places normally open in November sit locked. Closed by a park manager trying to get by with less money.

Casey Smithson, a park manager at the El Dorado Park says, "I was dictated, this is how much money was going to be cut out of my budget and I need to come up with some way to save the dollars."

But Smithson's choice of things to close is what really upsets some people. Besides shutting down certain campgrounds, he also closed a place fishermen use to clean their fish, and every rest room in the entire park.

Officials say the closings are temporary and should re-open in April unless they are hit with more budget cuts.

Park officials say El Dorado Park is not alone in cut backs. Many of the state's 24 parks are making similar service cuts.

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