Park Attendance Reaches Record Highs

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Attendance at Idaho state parks have has reached record numbers this summer just five years after Gov. Butch Otter proposed shutting down the parks department.

The Spokesman-Review reports that state funding for parks in Idaho is less than half of what it was in 2006, as shown by smaller staffs, needed repairs and fewer services, but programs remain sustainable.

Fees are charged at nearly all parks, with few exceptions, and Parks Director David Langhorst says a new passport program, which covers the daily vehicle entry fee all year at all state parks, has brought in $1.2 million in gross revenue this year.

Budget cuts have forced Washington and other states to consider closing parks over the past decade, though few actually did. Three states are looking at that now, including Wisconsin and Louisiana.