PELHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama’s twenty-two state parks could be shutting their gates, if the legislature moves forward with a plan to transfer funding for the parks service.
On Saturday, parks supporters rallied at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham to protest the proposal. Lawmakers are in Montgomery for a second special session, trying to hammer out a budget.
According to State Parks Director Greg Lien, legislators are proposing transferring 3 million dollars from the parks funding, which includes fees visitors pay to visit the facilities. Parks officials say that would force the parks accounts to be overdrawn and could lead to the near immediate closure of all 22 state parks.
“Any transfers hurt the parks system. Transfers at the level being proposed and what we anticipate may happen in the senate this next week absolutely stand the potential of collapsing the financing of the parks system,” said Lien
A few dozen people came to the rally in Pelham to voice their support for parks.
If the parks close, there’s no clear answer on would happen to employees, or the Alabama Wildlife Center, a wildlife rehabilitation facility at Oak Mountain State Park.
Parks officials say there’s no timeline on when they could reopen, but they would need the return of funding to do that.
The Oak Mountain rally was one of three held around the state on Saturday.
Copyright 2015 WIAT42 News