FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway Mountain Branch
Contact: Byway Manager
dagwood@trinidadusa.net
PO Box 118, Trinidad, CO 81082

March 11, 2004

PRESS RELEASE

"The following is provided for information purposes only. As the state Department of Transportation, it is our charge to work with our stakeholders to provide current and accurate information. The below is not intended to state CDOT's position on the issue, merely to convey timely information."


Subject: URGENT! Need Help with Colorado State Parks Funding!!
This is an urgent call to action from the Colorado Parks and Recreation Association. The Joint Budget Committee (JBC) of the Colorado General Assembly has recommended a 50 percent reduction in General Fund support to the operating budget of Colorado State Parks. Under this proposed budget cut scenario, Colorado State Parks might be forced to close at least 10 parks 2-3 days a week and completely close at least 10 additional parks.

The JBC is meeting to make a final decision on this proposed cut tomorrow, Friday March 12, 9:00am. Please make a phone call to the JBC members this afternoon, this evening, or early tomorrow morning, before their 9:00am meeting! Additionally, I encourage you to trigger any phone trees your organization may utilize, and direct those contacts to also call the JBC.

Your urgent action is essential to prevent parks from closing and halt the slow degeneration of Colorado's world-renowned outdoor recreation opportunities. If we all work together, we can take an active role in preserving Colorado State Parks and the benefits they provide to the people of this state.

I have included the following information:

1) A letter explaining in more detail the current situation facing Colorado State Parks.

2) A listing of the State Parks that would be affected by General Fund budget cuts.

3) Contact information for the members of the JBC and Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway legislators.

Barbara M. Wisney
CPRA, Executive Director
303-231-0943
wisneyb@cpra-web.org

March 10, 2004
Dear Community Leader,
This letter serves as Colorado Parks and Recreation Association’s formal request to you to contact your state legislators and ask them not to reduce General Fund support to Colorado State Parks, and to continue funding State Parks’ operating budget at its current level.

On March 1, the Joint Budget Committee of the Colorado General Assembly recommended a 50% reduction in General Fund support to the operating budget of Colorado State Parks. Unfortunately, the agency cannot undergo a budget reduction of this magnitude without some combination of partial and complete park closures. Under this proposed budget cut scenario, Colorado State Parks would be forced to close at least 10 parks 2-3 days a week, and completely close at least 10 additional parks.

Over the past two years, the State Parks operating budget funded by Colorado’s General Fund was reduced by 30%. These previous reductions required State Parks to close management offices and lay off full-time and seasonal employees, and forced State Parks to increase user fees and to drastically reduce discounts for senior citizens. Currently, State Parks receives only .0034% of the State General Fund. In essence, Colorado State Parks receives just over 50 cents in General Fund support per visitor per year. This is a very small amount to pay for a public program that serves 11 million visitors per
year. In 2003, Colorado State Parks ranked fifth lowest nationwide in general fund support among state parks systems that receive general fund dollars.

Colorado State Parks have a huge impact on both the local and statewide levels, providing an estimated $200 million in economic expenditures within communities in a 50-mile radius of the parks. Visitors to the parks stay in your communities longer, resulting in a boost to local businesses and in substantial support to the tourism industry around Colorado. In addition to economic benefits, Colorado State Parks provide a safe, clean and affordable destination for us all. They promote a healthy quality of life through quality facilities, clean campgrounds, scenic landscapes, lakes and reservoirs and maintained
trails. They generate pride and bring about community involvement through service and volunteer projects. We cannot let these valuable resources fall by the wayside.

The Colorado Parks and Recreation Association is asking you to take immediate action.
Below are links to the following information:
1. A listing of the State Parks that would be affected by General Fund budget cuts, and a description of the negative impacts that will take place at these parks.
2. Facts and bullet points that you can use to craft your call to action to your state legislators.
3. Contact information for legislative representatives in your area and the members of the Joint Budget Committee.

Please write a letter, send an email, or make a phone call to state legislators in your area, urging them to stop these cuts. With your help, we prevent parks from closing and halt the slow degeneration of Colorado’s world-renowned outdoor recreation opportunities and experiences.
Your urgent action is essential. The committee will make a final budget decision by the middle of March. If we all work together, we can take an active role in preserving Colorado State Parks and the benefits they provide to the people of this state.
Sincerely,
Barbara M. Wisney, Director
Colorado Parks and Recreation Association

Colorado State Parks operates 40 state parks, all of which are open to the public seven days a week. Three parks (Cheyenne Mountain, Lone Mesa, and Staunton) are currently under development. If cuts are made to State Parks’ General Fund support, many parks could face a significant reduction in full-time staff, seasonal staff, and days of operation.

Below is a listing of the parks and their potential impact of General Fund cut

Arkansas Headwaters Park -closed 2-3 days a week
Barr Lake -Partial or full closure of park
Bonny Park -closed 2-3 days a week
Cheyenne Mountain -Development delayed
Crawford -Partial or full closure of park
Harvey Gap -Partial or full closure of park
Jackson Lake Park -closed 2-3 days a week
John Martin Park -closed 2-3 days a week
Lathrop Park -closed 2-3 days a week
Lone Mesa -Development delayed
Lory -Partial or full closure of park
Mancos -Partial or full closure of park
Mueller Park -closed 2-3 days a week
Navajo Park -closed 2-3 days a week
North Sterling Park -closed 2-3 days a week
Paonia Partial or full -closure of park
Roxborough -Partial or full closure of park
San Luis -Partial or full closure of park
Spinney -Partial or full closure of park
St. Vrain Park -closed 2-3 days a week
Stagecoach -Partial or full closure of park
State Forest Park -closed 2-3 days a week
Staunton -Development delayed
Sweitzer -Partial or full closure of park
Trinidad Park -closed 2-3 days a week
Vega Park -closed 2-3 days a week

We urge you to contact your local legislators about the dire situation facing Colorado State Parks. Please also contact the members of the Joint Budget Committee (JBC), the General Assembly's permanent fiscal and budget review agency. Statutes charge the Joint Budget Committee with analyzing the management, operations, programs, and fiscal needs of the departments of state government. The JBC writes the annual appropriations bill - called the Long Bill - for the operations of state government.


The JBC members can be contacted at:
The Hon. Dave Owen (Senate District 13)
Colorado State Capitol:
200 E. 14th Ave 3rd Floor
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-866-2586
Fax: 970-330-9600
Home:
2722 Buena Vista Dr.
Greeley, CO 80634
Phone: 970-330-9600

The Hon. Tom Plant (House District 13)
Colorado State Capitol:
200 E. 14th Ave 3rd Floor
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-866-2587
E-Mail: tom.plant.house@state.co.us
Home:
PO Box 148
Nederland, CO 80466
Phone: 303-642-3707

The Hon. Peggy Reeves (Senate District 14)
Colorado State Capitol:
200 E. 14th Ave 3rd Floor
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-866-4841
Fax: 303-866-4543
E-Mail: peggy.reeves.senate@state.co.us
Home:
1931 Sandalwood Lane
Fort Collins, CO 80526
Phone: 970-482-8952

The Hon. Ron Teck (Senate District 7)
Colorado State Capitol:
200 E. 14th Ave 3rd Floor
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-866-3077
Fax: 303-866-2012
E-Mail: ron.teck.senate@state.co.us
Home:
627 Broken Spoke Rd.
Grand Junction, CO 81504
Phone: 970-243-8947

The Hon. John Witwer (House District 25)
Colorado State Capitol:
200 E. 14th Ave 3rd Floor
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-866-2582
E-Mail: john.witwer.house@state.co.us
Home:
PO Box 2167
Evergreen, CO 80437
Phone: 303-674-0219

The Hon. Brad Young (House District 64)
Colorado State Capitol:
200 E. 14th Ave, 3rd Floor
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-866-2581
E-Mail: bradyoung64@centurytel.net
Home:
7 Lake Rd.
Lamar, CO 81052
Phone: 719-336-7967


Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave, 1208 Longworth HOB, Washington, DC 20515, 202-225-4676, fax- 202- 225-5870

Senator Wayne Allard, 525 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg., Washington , D.C. 20510, 202-224-5941, fax-202-224-6471- http://allard.senate.gov/contactme/
Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, 308 Russell Senate Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20510, 202-224-5852, fax- 202-228-4609- http://campbell.senate.gov/email.htm
Congressman Scott McInnis, 320 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515, 202-225-4761, fax- 202-226-0622- http://www.house.gov/htbin/wrep_findrep
Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave1208 Longworth HOB, Washington, DC 20515, 202-225-4676, fax- 202- 225-5870- http://wwwa.house.gov/musgrave/108th%20Web/email_marilyn.htm