As an Idahoan who enjoys the great outdoors, I am extremely proud of our park system. I also am proud of the hard work the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation did during the Great Recession to keep all Idaho’s State parks open while other states were shutting theirs down.
We couldn’t have accomplished that without your help. The recreational vehicle community stepped forward with its backing when the Department of Parks and Recreation needed the RV Fund to keep operating the parks. I greatly appreciate your support and look forward to those funds once again being used in the RV grant program to support our users.
Idaho parks have become increasingly self-sufficient with additional revenue from special events, establishment of new attractions such as the snow park at Eagle Island State Park, and expansion of park resale programs. The Parks Passport Program has enjoyed great success, generating over $2 million in its first 20 months. And a new increase in reservation rates for out-of-state campers is projected to bring in new revenue.
Maintaining our park systems is extremely important to me, and I know that fees alone will not sustain our infrastructure. Last year, I proposed $1.8 million to repair and enhance existing parks infrastructure throughout the state. While increasing recreational opportunities such as the additional campground loop that’s been added to Henry’s Lake State Park is important, we also must focus on maintaining the State’s assets for the long haul, so that are children and grandchildren will have recreational opportunities at least as good as we enjoy now. I am committed to sustaining these Idaho gems for future generations, as I know you are.
The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation continues to fulfill its mission to improve the quality of life in our state through outdoor recreation and resource stewardship. I am confident that David Langhorst, the agency’s new director, and the Parks and Recreation Board will further these important endeavors – with our sustained support.
Folks, our State parks are a vital, living legacy for the people of Idaho and all those who visit our great state. They tell the story of the best of our lands, waters and other resources. And they speak volumes about how Idaho cares for our outdoor heritage and our people. Thank you once again for all you do to enhance our future while you enjoy some of the best and most beautiful places in the world – right here at home.