Georgia turns to private help with state parks |


Georgia turns to private help with state parks |

Some of Georgia’s most popular playgrounds will be put under private management this summer, part of a wider effort to stem the effects of severe state budget cuts and money-losing ventures.

By July 1, five Georgia state parks will become the state’s first wholly operated by a private company, although all five remain the property of the Peach State and funded by taxpayers.

The result for the public, at least in the short term, may include fees for popular programs — many of which are now free — as the company tries to turn around financial losses. The company may decide to increase how many programs are offered, although no immediate changes have been announced. There also could be more profit-friendly moves, such as a merchandise cart selling cold water halfway up the hike to Amicalola Falls.

In the long term, those who love and protect the parks hope it turns around a rough several years as the recession pulverized the state budget. Yet some people worry that taking these parks out of government hands might change their essential character.

via Georgia turns to private help with state parks |

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