Is a State Park Really a State Park If Oil-and-Gas Operations Are Rumbling Inside It?

November 16 2010, 12:00 PM

The answer to that question is doubtful for some Coloradans, including state Representative Claire Levy, a Boulder Democrat, who tells The Denver Post, "I understand entrance fees have to go up and operating hours and maintenance is being cut back. But I would hate to see our parks—where people can go and recreate—be turned into another oil-and-gas drilling site." But the 42-park system is reeling from years of diminishing support from the state, and next year, state parks may receive no funds at all. So far, 12 full-time jobs have been cut and salaries have been reduced, as visitors' fees have gone up.

One of the first parks that could see changes is St. Vrain State Park near Longmont, an area already hot for oil-and-gas leases, according to the Fort Collins Coloradoan. The overall situation is "tragic," says Anne Baker Easely, executive director of Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, or VOC, a conservation-minded group that works in the parks. Easely thinks state parks should work with the little funding they have but that their recreational nature shouldn't be altered to make up for holes in the budget.