The Department of Natural Resources is planning to hire some more workers to try and improve the condition of the state parks before Labor Day. The D.N.R. had at one time hired as many as 300 people to do the work, but with budget cuts, they only hired 86 this summer.
Parks bureau chief, Kevin Szcodronski, says visitors were starting to complain. Szcondronski says they are in the process of releasing some more hours out to the park staff to put on some more seasonal workers. “So with Labor Day weekend around the corner we’re hoping that the general public will see the parks in a little bit better condition than they were perhaps for Fourth of July weekend or Memorial Day,” he says.
Szcodronski says the picnic and shelter areas are showing the most neglect. “We’ve put an emphasis on our campgrounds, cabins, and lodges, and we’ve really let some day use areas really get pretty shaggy,” Szcondronski says, “so we’re hoping that the staff will have time to get into some of those. And what that means is people who just want to have a picnic and enjoy a day in the park are find some of the areas in a little bit better condition, and the grass not quite so high.”
He says the warm, dry weather did help keep the grass in check this year, but the cutbacks in annual work in the parks was adding up.
“You can get away with that for a little while but here into the third year it’s pretty noticeable this summer and we’re receiving a lot of concerns from people voicing a lot of concerns about how we’re not taking care of their state park. And they have a lot of pride in their state park system,” Szcodronski.
He says after the new fiscal year began on July first, the agency was directed to put additional resources into the park system. Szcodronski says they hope to hire an additional 90 seasonal employees to work through the fall.