Friday, December 23, 2011

Enjoy our state parks now before proposed budget cuts from Wyoming Legislature take effect

Glendo State Park
The following is a great program offered by my state government colleagues over at Wyoming State Parks.
The Wyoming Division of State Parks, Historic Sites and Trials will sponsor free, guided hikes in four state parks and historic sites on New Year’s Day as part of America's State Parks First Day Hikes initiative in all 50 states. 
America’s State Parks First Day Hikes offer individuals and families an opportunity to begin the New Year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike on January 1, at a state park close to home. First Day Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family. 
“We are excited to host First Day Hikes as part of this national effort to get people outdoors and into our parks. First Day Hikes are a great way to cure cabin fever and burn off those extra holiday calories by starting off the New Year with an invigorating walk or hike in one of our beautiful state parks,” said State Parks Administrator Domenic Bravo. 
America’s State Parks boast a variety of beautiful settings for year-round outdoor recreation, and each First Day Hike will offer an opportunity to explore the unique natural and cultural treasures close to home. From California to Maine, hikers can climb hills and mountain tops, walk along ponds and beaches, and traverse trails through forests, fields and prairies. Visitors can listen to birds, breathe in the fresh air, discover wildlife tracks, feel the wind and the warmth of the sun or the coldness of the snow. 
Visitors can expect to be surrounded by the quiet beauty of nature in winter, experience spectacular views and vistas and benefit from the company of a knowledgeable state park guide. “Studies have proven that getting outdoors is one good way to relax and recharge the body, mind and spirit.” stated Phil McNelly, NASPD’s Executive Director. “We hope that hiking along a trail in a state park will become part of an individual’s or family’s regular exercise routine.” 
First Day Hikes originated over 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Massachusetts. The program was launched to promote both healthy lifestyles throughout the year and year round recreation at state parks. Many other states have offered outdoor recreation programs on New Year’s Day, however, this is the first time all 50 state park systems have joined together to sponsor First Day Hikes. 
Park staff and volunteers will lead the hikes, which average one to two miles or longer depending on the state park. Details about hike locations, difficulty and length, terrain and tips regarding proper clothing are listed on the America’s State Parks website. Visit to find a First Day Hike nearest you. 
In Wyoming, hikes will be offered at the following locations and times: 
Fort Bridger State Historic Site – one mile hike/walk around the historic site. Meet at entrance booth at 1 p.m. 
Curt Gowdy State Park – Up to four mile hike on a trail to be determined. Meet at Aspen Grove Trail head at 1 p.m. 
Guernsey State Park – Up to 2.5 mile hike on a trail to be determined. Meet at headquarters at 1 p.m. 
Glendo State Park – Up to a four mile hike along a newly constructed Narrows Bluff Trail. Meet at the Dam overlook at 10 a.m. 
Participants are urged to wear adequate clothing, coffee and hot chocolate will be provided, Bonfires at most locations. This is a kid and family friendly event, entry fee to participating parks will be waived. 
RSVPs are requested but not required. Please RSVP by emailing
This event kicks off Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites 2012 75th Anniversary celebration. The organization America's State Parks is committed to promoting outdoor recreation in state parks as a way to address obesity, especially among children. Getting kids outside and unplugged from video games and other electronic media creates a unique connection with nature that promotes physical and mental well-being and encourages creativity and stewardship of our shared resources.
The ironic part of all this? Republicans in the Wyoming Legislature want budget cuts of up to 8 percent. Those budget cuts may force state agencies to eliminate staff and cut back on programs. So, while Wyoming celebrates the 75th anniversary of its fantastic system of state parks and historic sites, many of them will be cutting back hours, services and possibly even closing due to budget cuts.

All this will be happening in a Wyoming that has a budget surplus of somewhere around $500 million. The only explanation can be found in the fact that 24 Republican candidates with a Tea Party philosophy (if you can call it a "philosophy") were elected to the Legislature during the 2010 elections. They are true believers in small government at the expense of service to their constituents.

If you show up at a state park this summer and find it closed, call your Republican state legislator and ask him/her why. You can find contact info on the Legisweb site at


Anonymous said...

How many of the legislators are participants in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) where they get boilerplate bills to do these sort of of things?

Doles the state budget cover their trips?


Michael Shay said...

While the state budget seems to cover legislator trips to Hawaii, it does not seem to provide funding to ALEC indoctrination events. The Koch Brothers fund ALEC and they have more money than God and are happy to spread it around to Republican true believers.