Thursday, April 23, 2015

An Open Letter to Governor Robert Bentley

A view from Mount Cheaha (photo by Joe Ly)

An Open Letter to Governor Robert Bentley

Concerning Alabama’s State Parks

Dear Governor Bentley,

It was with great concern that I read the news that 15 Alabama State Parks are set to be closed. One of our state’s greatest assets is its natural beauty. The state park system has stood as a tribute to that beauty for many years. They have served as vacation spots for families and places for recreation. In promoting tourism, Alabama’s State Parks have attracted many to this state to enjoy it mountains, lakes, rivers and beaches. Whether one wanted to water ski, climb mountains, fish in streams, relax on the beach, or take a walk in the forest, Alabama State Parks have provided a wonderful respite for many.

It is truly a sad day when our state suddenly tells the public that it must lose two-thirds of its beautiful parks. I therefore appeal to you, Governor Bentley, to see that this great loss does not occur.

We need to pay as much attention to our own natural resources as we do to foreign companies. We have given so many tax breaks and exemptions to German, Korean, Japanese and Chinese companies to attract them that we are essentially subsidizing foreign businesses. I think most Alabamians would be willing to subsidize our own natural treasures in order to keep the state park system intact.  

A multi-faceted approach to saving our parks might be in order. In addition to subsidizing this most worthy enterprise, we could also look into ways to make those parks that are operating in the red more profitable. Seven of the parks are turning a profit. That indicates possibilities for the other parks. We could ask what measures practiced by the profitable parks could be implemented in the remaining parks. We could do more advertising to promote tourism, bringing more visitors and revenue to our state to see some of our proudest treasures.

On behalf of the good citizens of Alabama, and on behalf of our children and grandchildren, I ask, Governor, that you not let the legislature rob us of so great a treasure as we have in the natural beauty of our state parks.

 Lake Guntersville Resort State Park ( File photo)
Frozen Castle Formation in Rickwood Caverns
(photo from The Armchair Explorer)

"Whether you arrive by land or water, there’s no mistaking the beauty and serenity of this 2,550-acre resort park. On the shores of Wheeler Lake, the resort features a stunning, waterfront lodge with restaurant and convention facilities, championship 18-hole golf course and clubhouse, full-service marina with permanent and overnight docking slips, modern and primitive camping, lakeside cottages, cozy cabins, and a rustic group lodge." (from the Joe Wheeler State Park website)

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