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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The AP reported today that the federal government will seize six state parks from California if they continue with the governor's plan to close 220 state parks. With several states threatening to close their parks, it makes me think: Why don't states just privatize their parks?

Here are excerpts from two blogs on state park privatization in Pennsylvania that I posted previously at the Commonwealth Foundation's PolicyBlog:

[PA] SB 850 will reduce funding for state parks by only 17 percent from 2008-09 and only 14 percent from the governor’s proposed budget. However, despite this relatively small reduction, John Quigley, acting secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), continues to proclaim that up to 40 state parks will have to close due to lack of funding. That amounts to 34 percent of named state parks.

How does a 17 percent cut in funding close 34 percent of the state’s named parks?
Pennsylvania should consider privatization of state parks. Similar proposals exist in Michigan and Washington State. Pennsylvania currently maintains and operates 117 parks across the state. Not only will privatization reduce taxpayer spending, but privatizing Pennsylvania’s state parks will provide a windfall profit from their lease or sale. The local communities will also benefit from property taxes on the newly privatized land.

Patrick Henderson, director of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, has also proposed increasing the amount of state park land open for natural gas drilling. In 2008, Pennsylvania received $190 million in leasing fees on 74,000 acres of state land.

Posted by Eleutherian

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  1. bbrian017 Says:
  2. maybe the private way would be worse! we privatized our gas stations here in Canada and now were paying for it as we have no government to regulate it. Eventually the private owner of that park will sell to some rich jerk that will build a apartment building.

  3. Ideally, they WILL build an apartment building on the grounds. It will attract more visitors to the park. As state parks are often hundreds (if not thousands) of acres, the addition of an apartment building will not cause much harm.

    Furthermore, the states do not have to necessarily sell the land outright. They can choose to lease the land instead. The state will retain ownership of the land, while the private sector will manage operations and retain all profits (minus the lease).


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