Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Park in Need of Help

Last Saturday we did something we love to do and have done quite often.  We visited a state park.  It was a grand day.  The weather was perfect, a crisp morning that warmed into a sun filled afternoon.  The park was not crowded, but we were happy to noticed that other people were about and enjoying the park as well.

My state has found itself in a financial crisis, as have many of yours.  Our legislators have for years neglected and underfunded state parks.  This year they chose not to ignore; they chose to gut the state parks budget.  To be fair, the state parks weren’t the only entities to feel the pain of the legislature’s budget cutting. 

However, wildfires have damaged so many acres in my state.  As fate would have it, one state park was almost completely consumed by the worst wildfire in this state’s history.  Rains have come since, eroding soil and damaging roads and other structures in the park.  The effects of these twins of fire and rain were exacerbated by the lack of funds and resources to combat them.

One must acknowledge the varied and many missions of parks.  Some preserve history; tell stories of our ancestors and their toils to carve out a living, to establish a community, and to build a country.  Others, document the presence of creatures that once roamed our lands, swam in our waters, or flew in the atmosphere above.  Some afford us the opportunity to escaped the hustle of our lives and relax.  Others still allow us to know the wonders of nature.

The state parks helped mold the tight bonds between members of my family.  In them, my children were taught to be resourceful and flexible, that they could endure some inclement weather, that a little dirt was good for their disposition as well.  On camping trips, we learned to divvy up the chores, and the more everyone helped, the faster we all got to the fun stuff.

The same can be said for today’s families and parks.  The parks can prove an avenue to great fun, learning and building strength of character and relationship.  If you can, this is a plea for you to help out your local park.  Find one to support.  Your world will be better for it.



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