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Tell Your MA Senator to Increase DCR Funding

posted May 10, 2011, 12:45 PM by michele biscoe
The Massachusetts Stewardship Council — established by the Legislature to oversee several Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) activities — appreciates that every state government agency faces budget cuts, but they're trying to convince the state senate that "the effect is particularly severe at DCR because it has had its budget slashed by more than 30 percent over the past two fiscal years."  And they need your help.  The Senate Ways and Means Committee is expected to release its recommended budget for FY12 in mid-May. The full Senate is expected to vote on the budget by the end of the month. Please contact your state senator today and urge her or him to increase the proposed House 1 funding levels for the DCR to at least $75 million by 1) allowing DCR to keep 80 percent of any money it takes in, and 2) fully funding the cost of the State House rangers.  If you do not know how to contact your senator or who represents you in the state senate, you can find out on the MA Legislature's website.

On Thursday, April 28, the Massachusetts House of Representatives approved its fiscal year 2012 (FY12) state budget plan providing only $69.8 million in funding for the DCR.  The proposed funding level will necessitate "serious and visible shutdowns and service reductions" according to Stewardship Council Chairman Henry Lee's letter to Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (see below).

Last year, however, there was a 30 percent increase in visitors to state parks, beaches, and campgrounds.
Richard K. Sullivan, secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, said more people are using state parks and services because of the down economy, so it makes sense to fund them adequately.

Being able to visit the Middlesex Fells Reservation with my dog is one of the greatest values I get for my state tax dollars.  I am writing a letter today to my senator asking her to commit to funding for the Middlesex Fells and all the state parks and beaches and campgrounds that make Massachusetts a great place to live even during difficult times.
michele biscoe,
May 11, 2011, 4:08 AM