Missouri State Parks are free for the public to enjoy, but they run on money from state tax revenue, which is slipping.
State Parks Director Bill Bryan says the parks budget comes from tax revenue — 75 percent — and money the parks generate from camping fees, souvenirs and tours, which makes up the remaining 25 percent. As those funds continue to decline, he says the Parks management has adjusted hours, closed the loop of the campground in the winter times, and implemented other efficiencies. That means cutting staff, as well, a painful decision, Bryan says, but necessary.
Bryan says Parks management and staff has had to focus on its main priority: preserving the natural history and culture of the state. Anything else that was extra, he says, was able to be trimmed.
Despite falling revenues, parks attendance was up last year. Bryan says he’s optimistic that those numbers will continue to climb.