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AL – New amendment could protect AL state park funding

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) – Friday, July 22nd 2016, 2:54 pm EDT

Whether it’s surfing along Alabama’s gulf coast, fishing and swimming at Lake Jackson in Opp to zip-lining across Lake Guntersville state park or taking a dip in the crystal Clear Blue Springs in Barbour County, Alabama’s State Parks have something to offer everyone!

Four to five million people visit Alabama’s parks each year. State Parks Director Greg Lein says that’s where state parks get the bulk its funding.

“We often talk about how our parks go from the mountains to the coast – we cover all geographical sites.” Lein said. “Some of the neighboring states that’s how they are operated, through tax dollars, but that’s not how it has been done in Alabama.”

An amendment on the ballot in November would protect the state parks funding. Funding issues threatened to shut down several state parks.  All but two remain open.

“What it will do is protect the funds in which the state parks collect. It won’t allow the general fund to take that funding form out state parks system.” Phillip Darden is president of the state parks coalition says. His group works to protect the state parks.

Darden says one of the biggest challenges is making people aware of what all the state parks have to offer.

“The constant challenge that we have is getting people engaged in the outdoors.”

“We know through TripAdvisor the park system is very well regarded by the people who go there.” Lein says. “We just need to broaden that net and share that experience with people who haven’t been there.”

You can find more about Alabama’s state parks at this website.

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