Durango Telegraph - State Parks may OK drilling
State Parks may OK drilling

The drill rig could be finding its way into Colorado State Parks. Faced with dwindling state revenues, Colorado State Parks is putting all the options on the table. The agency has already cut jobs and salaries and raised fees for camping and boat registration. Opening the system to “limited” oil and gas extraction is one possible fix.

“We’re just like any other entity,” State Parks spokeswoman Deb Frazier told the Denver Post. “We are looking at other ways to help with our income.”

State of Colorado funding for the system dropped from $6.7 million in 2009 to $2.6 million this year. The Post noted that State Parks is likely to get nothing from state coffers in 2011.

Nonetheless, the proposal is already drawing strong reactions. Colorado Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder, expressed her concerns, telling the paper, “I understand entrance fees have to go up and operating hours and maintenance is being cut back. But I would hate to see our parks – where people can go and recreate – be turned into another oil and gas drilling site.”

Colorado State Parks oversees the Navajo, Mancos, Lone Mesa and Ridgway state parks in Southwest Colorado. The agency plans to revisit opening the parks to drilling in January.

– Will Sands

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