State parks’ funding remains below pre-recession levels

By Aidan Connelly

The continuing cuts in funding for the Department of Conservation and Recreation is leading many state parks to lose their old world charm. The funding, which starting in 2008 was cut down by 20 percent is starting to show visible signs in parks like the Boston Common.

Erica Mattison of the Environmental League of Massachusetts said that a push for the DCR is crucial in order to bring park funding back to pre-recession levels, arguing that “bettering the parks of Massachusetts serves as a potential boost for the state’s economy by bringing in tourists from both around the country and around the world.”

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Mattison pointed to the annual amount of 10 billion dollars worth of revenue in consumer spending related to the outdoor recreation economy, suggesting that by rejuvenating Massachusetts’ parks, the state could significantly increase revenue.

As the snow melts and the days get warmer, it’s easier to find people agreeing with Mattison on the significance of parks. On Boston common, hundreds of people are walking, biking, exercising, or just enjoying the sunlight while they eat their lunch.

One of these people was New York resident Michael Davis, who pointed to the affluent funding for places like Central Park in New York City to protect the trees and maintain a clean park. Looking out at the common, Davis noted its beauty, but added that “It’s beat up, it really is in need of funds to restore, in particular the grass and the turf.”

By urging citizens to contact their representatives, environmental groups like the Environmental League of Massachusetts are hoping to further economic support for all parks in Massachusetts, Boston Common included. With hope, increased funding for the parks may make a world of difference for the state’s income, as well as the lives of the people who visit them.

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