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Volunteers needed to keep Iowa state parks running
Even though state park usage is on the rise, park systems around the country are looking for ways to keep operating despite deep budget cuts, in some cases.
In Iowa, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says that it will rely on volunteers to help keep areas of the state's 85 state parks open during 2010.
Radio Iowa reports that a DNR spokesman said the park system is dealing with a 26 percent decrease in funding over the past two years. In addition, staffing levels are at historic lows and volunteers will be needed to pick up the slack.
"At this point, we're just kind of getting off the ground in terms of our recruitment efforts and trying to identify what parks are going to need the most assistance," said Kevin Baskins. "I think you'll start to see that unfold a little bit more as we get into the later winter and early spring in terms of recruitment efforts to get volunteers to help us with this."
According to Baskins, there are no immediate plans to close entire parks, but the DNR is considering closing areas of parks that are not considered profitable.