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In a climate where some states are being forced to close down several state parks due to the recession, Missouri is asking for help from its people so it doesn’t have to do the same. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources created a new online donation system to help raise money for the more than 80 parks across the state. KSMU’s Adam Murphy reports.
Last week, the Department of Natural Resources launched the new online donation system for the first time in the history of Missouri state parks. The system allows patrons from anywhere in the world to donate money to help the parks survive in this time of decreased funding. State parks have seen a more than 6% decline this past year in funding due to the sales tax revenue which accounts for most of their budgets. Judd Slivka of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources says the opportunity to donate from any location may bring in money from the parks’ national and international visitors.
“So it would not be surprising to find someone from Japan, find someone from Qatar, find someone donating from England. Lots of people come to Missouri state parks because they’re beautiful and they’re also very well known as one of the top state park systems in the United States,” said Slivka.
Missouri state parks have actually been collecting donations on site for a few years now. The DNR says parks bring in around $57,000 a year from these donations. Slivka says the parks are doing their best to work with limited financial resources.
“Our parks are driven primarily by sales tax revenue, and those collections are down, so we are always looking for ways to create more operational efficiencies to stretch just a bit further, to stretch that dollar just a little bit more so that we can still offer a great parks experience to our users, at the same time being very responsible stewards of the money that the taxpayers give us,” he said.
State parks in the southwest Missouri region that would receive funding from these new online donations include Table Rock and Roaring River State Parks.For more information, you can visit the Missouri State Parks System website by clicking here.For KSMU News, I’m Adam Murphy.