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Hikers, bikers mixed on idea of closing state parks

Posted February 17, 2011

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— State parks would need to close two days a week to reduce spending and help balance the state budget, under a proposal outlined Thursday by Gov. Beverly Perdue.

Perdue said the state Division of Parks and Recreation needs to cut its budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year, which starts in July, by 10 percent, or almost $3.1 million.

Closing most of the 40 state parks during a couple of weekdays would keep layoffs in the division to a minimum, the governor said, and parks officials would be given the flexibility to handle the closures so they don't affect programs and services.

Umstead State Park sign Hikers, bikers mixed on idea of closing state parks

Officials with the state Department of Environment and Natural resources said they plan to review Perdue's idea to see how they can help the state while still serving park-goers.

Hikers and bikers at Umstead State Park in Raleigh expressed mixed feelings about the plan.

"I could handle that. I'm not here every day of the week," said bicyclist Rick Clarke, adding that the closures aren't an ideal solution but the state needs to cut back somewhere.

"Everybody has to survive the cut and get creative to minimize the impact," he said.

"I just think it would be terrible to close that and not give people access weekly, daily," said Sheila Mitchell, who said she visits Umstead park several days a week to walk her German Shepherd or ride her bike.

"I would like to think that there would be other opportunities and other options available," she said.

38 Comments

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  • oldrwizr Feb 18, 2011

    rocker96, if that's humor it's lame. If it's ignorance, I'll enlighten you. The term "bike" also means "bicycle".

  • I Change This Name Daily Feb 18, 2011

    what the hell does it matter to bikers? don't they go to daytona for their fun?

  • fanoftheheels Feb 18, 2011

    "balance the state budget"
    I say give Bev a salary decrease...just saying!

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Feb 18, 2011

    Cuting operating days, but not laying people off? Then where's the savings? Not knowing the expenses of a park I just don't understand how they'd save money.

    If someone wants to take a hike in the woods, why does it matter if the park is open or closed?

  • mpheels Feb 18, 2011

    mmccormack, you might be the smartest person in this discussion :)

    Unfortunately, given the way the state has handled cuts in the past (like the pay cut for state employees a couple a years ago, where they cut everyone regardless of the funding source), I don't think they'll take such a common sense approach. The decision makers seem to be big on across the board, all or nothing changes, and don't want to put in the effort to fine tune changes.

  • whatelseisnew Feb 18, 2011

    "I just think it would be terrible to close that and not give people access weekly, daily," said Sheila Mitchell, who said she visits Umstead park several days a week to walk her German Shepherd or ride her bike.

    "I would like to think that there would be other opportunities and other options available," she said."

    Hey Sheila, pony up, pay in more money to the State. Gather your friends and get them to pay more money. then perhaps you can get your selfish wish.

  • mmccormack65 Feb 18, 2011

    Each park should be evaluated on an individual basis. Many parks such as Umstead could remain open but be unstaffed. Given that North Carolina is ranked number 10 in the country for highest levels of adult obesity, we should be encouraging state residents to use our "public" parks.

  • witmasta Feb 18, 2011

    Just let the workers have the day off and leave the gates open. That way people can still use the "public" land.

  • wilmingtonNC Feb 18, 2011

    After watching the protests in Wisconsin yesterday, and hearing all the partisan comments made just about everywhere lately, I've come to the conclusion that things in the US will get a LOT worse. Nobody, I mean NOBODY, is willing to compromise the least bit, and the name calling by one party regarding the other is at an all time high. Wake up, people, we have to work together here, and it's going to affect everyone.

  • tritonlm6 Feb 18, 2011

    Seriously. I visit Umstead on a regular basis. What else do the employees do during the week besides unlock the gate? I can count on one hand the number of times I've actually seen a park employee while visiting the park. Then again. The gates are easy enough to walk around or ride your bike around. I doubt there would be anyone in there to enforce the closure and run you off. Budget cuts ya know?

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