St. Louis, MO – Without a doubt, Missouri has some of the best state parks in the country. With well over 18 million visitors each year, MO state parks have been ranked five separate times as one of the top four state park systems in the nation.
But the parks are beginning to slip in disrepair. Aging sewer systems, worn down roads and trails, and moss-covered buildings are becoming everyday issues and accumulated backlog of over $400 million in repairs and maintenance.
Missouri’s legislature took the first steps towards addressing these issues this week, first by allocating $20 million in budget surplus to the state parks division and then by passing legislation that prevents interest from the State Parks Earnings Fund being swept into general revenue. Both the budget and the legislation await final approval from Governor Nixon.
“It is truly inspiring to see our local leaders stand up for our parks,” said Environment Missouri state advocate Stuart Keating. “Now, more than ever before, we need leaders on all levels to speak out about importance of state parks on our health and our environment.”
Last week, the Missouri House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation authorizing a $1.2 billion bond issue for infrastructure projects around the state by a margin of 136-23. The House referred the bond to the Senate on Monday, who passed it into the Appropriations committee earlier this week.
“With one day left in the 2013 legislative session, we applaud Missouri’s legislators for their efforts to preserve our state parks for future generations and urge the Senate to act quickly to approve the building bond issue,” said Keating. “We know that our state parks enjoy the support of Missourians from all walks of life, the Senate should seize this opportunity to protect Missouri’s parks.”
Environment Missouri is a statewide grassroots environmental advocacy organization that works for clean air, clean water and open spaces.