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The Augusta Chronicle (Georgia)
October 22, 2013 Tuesday
SPORTS; Pg. C1
|RECREATION PLAN CALLS FOR SELF-GENERATED FUNDS;
RECREATION PLAN CALLS FOR SELF-GENERATED FUNDS
In the next two years, Georgia's state, local and national parks will focus on generating funds to cover their own expenses, develop an inventory of recreational assets and publicize the health benefits of outdoor activities, according to the draft of a multiyear plan presented Monday.
The Board of Natural Resources received the draft during its committee meetings and will vote on it at its December meeting. The public will have the opportunity to comment at a hearing Oct. 30.
It's an update of the current two-year plan approved by the Department of Natural Resources and the federal government, which funds many park projects.
"The biggest change is the reality of the economics of our time, recognizing and understanding how we need to respond to that," said Becky Kelley, the director of DNR's parks, recreation and historic places.
Weak tax collections since the recession have led to a state budget that has reduced spending for parks by about half. The department has cut expenses, closed some facilities and sought higher revenues from lodge rentals.
The Georgia Statewide Com-prehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan is the work of DNR, federal wildlife agencies, the National Park Service, local parks directors and the electric utilities that open land to public recreation. The task force that drafted the report doesn't include any private companies other than Georgia Power.
- Walter C. Jones,
Morris News Service
October 23, 2013