TODAY: Urge MA Legislators not to Underfund DCR

Friday, May 16, 2014

The FY15 DCR Budget needs your help:

Once again the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation is slated to be underfunded. This means the many popular “closed” State Forests and Parks that host extensive trail networks will remain so. It means that State funded trail maintenance in other DCR properties will diminish or become entirely non-existent. Things will get worse later this year when the 2015 budget takes effect.

Unless we act now to prevent it.

The Senate's DCR Budget does not provide adequate funding for DCR to staff forests and parks across the state. It even came in lower than the House's. But Senator Mike Rush has filed an ammendment to raise DCR funding from $41,625.332 to $45,600,000.

Debate on this and other ammendments starts Wednesday. Please call your State Senator and ask them to support Sen. Rush's ammendment. A quick phone call can make all the difference.

Please take action by Friday. Call or email your Senator:

Find your Senator HERE!

Background information:

·         DCR State Parks & Recreation: Severe budget cuts have led to closed and poorly maintained facilities.  In order to provide more quality outdoor experiences to Massachusetts residents and visitors, it is essential that DCR staffing levels be increased. For every $1M DCR receives, it can hire 20 full-time employees.  In FY2014, this line-item’s funding was 21% below the FY2008 amount, and the House Ways & Means budget would cut DCR State Parks & Recreation by $1.7M.

·         DCR Seasonal Staffing: Seasonal staff play a significant role in supporting DCR’s parks operations and comprise a considerable portion of the staff needed to keep open critical recreational amenities such as swimming pools, campgrounds, and skating rinks. Since FY2009 this line-item has been cut approximately $3.2M (20%), forcing DCR to reduce its seasonal workforce.

Talking Points:

The DCR’s budget cuts since FY2009 has resulted in a loss of 250 staff positions, a reduction in workforce of 30%

Reduced staff means less park supervision, forest fire control, visitor services, natural resource protection, and trail maintenance.

My experiences on DCR properties have been adversly effected by these cuts.