Last week I wrote an article about state parks that are being closed because of state budget cuts. I received many e-mails regarding the article, including one that referenced this website

When I started to research the topic more in-depth I ran across a Business Wire article explaining how the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD) established this America’s State Parks Alliance. The purpose of the alliance is to mobilize and educate the public and policy makers on the positive impact state parks have on public health and local economies.

The article and website offered some very insightful information about our state parks.

For example:

1)       State Parks across America spend about $2.3 billion in annual operations, but they generate about $20 billion in economic impact.

2)      More than 725 million people visited state parks in 2009 (during recession)

3)      Building and maintaining state parks helps create jobs.

4)      State parks help stimulate outdoor recreation and contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

5)      State parks promote tourism.

6)      State parks conserve our natural, cultural and historical assets.

7)      For campers, our state parks offer 207,063 campsites, 7,161 cabins and lodges and over 41,000 trails to hike and explore.

America’s State Parks is committed to giving a unified voice to all of our country’s state park systems in Washington and national politics. They work with policy makers to ensure that these national treasures are protected and that the voices of state park users are heard.

Visit America’s State Parks to see what you can do to help protect state parks threatened by closure because of state budget cuts.

Happy Camping,

Mark Polk

RV Education 101

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  1. Virginia Castro

    A word about Florida State Parks. We are new to RVing. Have only had our 30 ft 5th wheel about 8 months. We are still employed so are only able to travel on our days off but we try and get out at least twice a month. We have stayed almost exclusively in Florida State Parks and have found the staff to be friendly and efficient. For the most part, the parks offer more spacious spaces than private parks. I encourage everyone to visit Florida Parks.

  2. Art Petersen


    We camp often at San Mateo in San Clemente Ca, State run 3 or so miles to the beach on the East side of the freeway. It has electric and water hookups and a dump station. No club house , no wi fi but does have a restroom and shower bldg. They have doubled camping fees from $30.00 to $60.00 Which pretty much eliminates us as campers there.. We believe the raise is fees is shortsighted but but what else can we expect from the NIT WIT legislators in California.

  3. Art Petersen

    We camp often at San Mateo in San Clemente Ca, State run 3 or so mile to the beach on the East side of the freewasy. It has electric and water hookups and a dump station. No club house , no wi fi but does have a restroom and shower bldg. They have doubled camping fees from $30.00 to $60.00 Which pretty much eliminates us as campers their.

    I believe the raise is fees is shortsighted but but else can we expect from the nit wit legislators in California

  4. Fran Vogt

    I just got word that VA has changed their plan of closing 4 of their state parks. Not only will these parks remain open, the two-year budget for state parks has been increased by one million dollars. Here is their website, and in the links you will find some of the letters to legislators that helped reverse this decision:

  5. Kellie Pierce

    Okay, I LOVE state parks and stay in them all the time, all over the country but…many of them are NOT well run i.e like a business. On numerous occasions the following scenario has happened to me. Pull in to state park to register, 3 – 5 uniformed employees in office, caper line 5 – 7 people becasue only ONE of those employees is actually taking registratons. What are the others doing? Who knows? But I’m sure they are beng paid quite well. Check out pay scales of state employees – probably lots more than you think and usually excellent benefits as well. There is NO reason state parks could not be run at a profit if appropriate business practices were followed and public employee unions were kicked out. I know this will rain fire down on my head but I don’t care. I worked for and retired from a state govt so I do know what I’m talking about.

  6. butterbean carpenter

    I am a Texan and have enjoyed the benefits of state parks, roadside parks and
    city parks all over the state.. I am ashamed of the politics that are taking OUR LAND
    from us, whether in an ATTEMPT to balance the budget(which it won’t) or closing
    taxpayer recreational properties..
    In our county(Coleman) the Department of Transportation closed a HISTORICAL
    ROADSIDE PARK and left open TWO on the edge of Coleman city limits(within 5
    miles)… THAT MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL!!!!!!!! People use the ones in close to deal drugs, leave their trash, etc..

  7. Thomas Becher

    It’s always the little people that take the hit. I wonder how many people at the adminisration level of parks and rec could be let go. It’s not the guy in the park that causes all the money to be spent, but the guy behind a desk. How much is the state going to spend putting a park in mothballs and other maintainance VS keeping them open. I’m sure there are local people that would do some work around a park if it weren’t for perhaps unions against it. I know here in Wisconsin we have Friends of ———- that help put money into their parks for the benifit of all. So far there is no talk of shutting any parks in Wi. As for the closed rest stops. I carry my potty with me, and use a off ramp to stop and do my business. Unlike Texas ( you gotta love them) where they have rest stops everywhere. Only a picnic table and a trash container, but a safe place to pull off and have lunch and take a nap if so inclined.

  8. Gerald Ames

    Our belief, like others have voiced, is that a state cuts a slightly injured leg off to save itself in these tight times. As an example of how the effect may be felt: Since the first time traveling through Nebraska, we either try to avoid it, or just chaff at the unfriendly attitude their state parks policy seems to show us. It seems that a overall state permit is required besides entry fees at any state parks. I have not researched this properly before writing, but that’s our impression from the highway signage; thus our negative feeling about Nebraska.
    If the states wish to have us RVers feel the same way toward them, Nebraska has shown the way to do it.
    This not to say that we don’t support aiding in their support and maintenance, We do!

  9. Jim

    maybe our Prez. could get some of the flunkie corporate mongers to give back some of their Bonus money ( that we paid) that they DO NOT deserve, and in turn give it to the Parks

  10. Chris Stefani

    I read all your articles and enjoy them plus they contain useful information. As a new rver but old timer camper, (wife and I bought a new travel trailer, this year), i am very dissappointed with the United States and their budget cuts in State parks. We are planning a trip to california in the summer time and were planning on camping at some of the state parks on the west coast on our travels. We do hope that the government changes their mind and put back the money in state parks instead of there needless spending, or even better yet they should take a pay cut so rver’s and campers can enjoy the state parks and nature.

  11. Dan

    I can say if Jenny here in Michigan continues the way she usually works we can expect the parks to be closed or cut back like a lot of other services like police, fire and schools or anything that people can use or get help from. Just as long as she can continue to make her trips everything is good.

  12. hoppe

    Next thing you know Thousand Trails or some such other private entity will be manageing them. Of course the price will be elevated a bit as well. And they’ll have Retirees working there for less than minimum wage. At least that’s what has happened here in Colorado in the National Forest Campgrounds. I keep hoping that the forest service will take them over again, and take down some of the signage prohibiting dispersed camping. My $.02

    Nothing against the hosts you understand. Just have to wonder where the money goes. Certainly not to the workers.

  13. Carl Stark

    Last year we traveled all over the Western United States, and greatly enjoyed a number of State Parks with adequate sites for our Class A . I’m a little partial, but I think Georgia has some of the nicest, most scenic, and accommodating State Parks for RVs yet. Carl.

  14. catchesthewind

    It is a sad commentary on the times but when the budget ax comes down it is the smaller entities of state govt. that take the hit no matter their positive fiscal impact upon their states.Park managers have little political clout and can only say yes sir, yes sir, three bags full when asked to chop their budgets.

  15. William Gerald

    We now have an interesting new twist here in the State of Washingon,

    When you renew your vehicle license plates [All vehicles, not just RVs] there is a box to make a “voluntary” $5.00 donation to keep state parks open.

    When you get to the final summary of fees and charges, the box to make the donation is checked by default. If you fail to note this the donation is automatically applied to the total and remove the check, it is automatically made.

    I like the idea of making people aware of the bugetary cutbacks and giving them the opportunity to contribute, in addition to the increased fees charged at the parks that haven’t yet been closed, but feel it would have been better to truly let it be a voluntary decision, not a default.

  16. Nancy

    I currently live in San Francisco.
    As most people know, who have ever been to the bay area, this is an area of 7-8 million people yet; within 10 to 20 minutes one can totally be away from civilization. I am very much convinced that this is what keeps us grounded in the belief that all are created equal, how important nature is and that there is a greater good that we are all working towards.
    There are city, county, state and national parks (as well as privately supported special places) that totally surround us and they are well used.
    I know, for a fact , that most people who live in my part of the world really support anything that will keep these special places open and available to all.
    I don’t get the disconnect between cost & income that is currently happening in states, CA being one of the worst offenders.
    I have and will continue to let the city, state and federal authorities know how they are missing the point. I guess they don’t even care that the state parks bring in so much more than they cost. All they seem to care about is a political picture that they are trying to present. (cutting costs) They don’t bother w/the fact that they are lying about the details.
    Come on you guys/gals, get on the bandwagon and let them know this is just wrong!

  17. Drew

    I mostly use private campgrounds, but when retirement comes- I hope to use whatever we can. I’ve e-mailed everyone in Wash.- we’ll see who replies and/or does anything.


  18. State Parks as I have seen in the South offer the best scenery, best price, and security. We need to support the PARKS!!!

  19. George

    During my research in the past, I found state parks (at least the ones I checked on) could only accommodate smaller sized RVs. With a 38 ft 5th wheel I just pass them up as a matter of course. Maybe I need to re-examine this.
    *****My big peeve is the closure of interstate rest stops. I just returned from 2 months in Arizona and found 1 in 4 rest stops were not barricaded at the entrance. I heard Arizona and California were really hurting budget wise, but almost every second plate I saw was from Canada where I live. If Ariz and Calif want to drive the tourists/snowbirds to another state they’re going about it the right way.

  20. Thanks for this. I’m definitely going to visit and see what I can do to help save our State Parks!