One of the most popular suggestions from the public for changing state government has been a merger of the state parks division with the Conservation Department. That is unlikely to happen.
The goal of the ‘Rebooting Missouri” effort in the state Senate is to reduce spending from the state’s general bank account. But moving the Parks Division from the Department of Natural Resources to Conservation would save little because the state parks program is mostly financed with a state sales tax and DNR’s money comes from another sales tax plus hunting and fishing license fees.
A special Senate committee has considered closing parks and historic sites for short times as a way to save money. But committee member Dan Clemons of Marshfield says that’s not a good thing in difficult times because the economy is keeping people closer to home meaning they’re more likely to go to parks and provide economic benefits to nearby communities.
The chairman of the committee says parks are a family activities that cost relatively little and become more important when the economy is down and income is short. In the end—it sounds like a good idea….but it doesn’t make enough economic sense to pursue.