New Advisory Council To Tackle State Parks Funding Challenges

Jan 12, 2018

Governor Steve Bullock has signed an executive order creating an advisory council on state parks.

Bullock’s order says the fiscal health of state parks remains a chronic problem, and the implementation of Montana’s plan for parks and recreation has not been fully undertaken or realized. 

Montana is more than halfway through its five-year plan strategic plan to guide the management of state parks and recreation. The plan runs through 2020. And Bullock says it alone isn’t enough to protect the future of state parks.

Bullock signed the executive order creating the additional advisory group yesterday.

The governor’s Montana Parks in Focus commission will search for new ways to pay for overdue maintenance, increasing staffing costs, and encourage public-private partnerships, as well as recreation.

“The strategic plan really does provide a great foundation off  which to build, but when comes to revenue streams and the partnership and the like, I think we need more than just that plan,” Bullock says.

The new state parks commission is built of 12 volunteer members. Commission members come from a mix of outdoor businesses and nonprofits, along with a state senator, and education, tourism, and healthcare policy experts.

The commission is expected to issue an initial report on the key challenges and threats to state parks in June, with a final report in December.