OK State Parks may shut down due to budget deficit

Updated: Mar. 13, 2017 at 2:10 PM CDT
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OK (KSWO)- Oklahoma is continuing to see some of the impacts from a major budget shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year and it's the tourism industry that could be hit the worst. That's bad news for our state parks.

The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department told the staff to be prepared. That's because 16 state parks and one state golf course are at risk of shutting down. That could result in the loss of 80 full-time employees.

At risk of becoming victims of the cuts: 16 state parks, one state golf course, 80 full-time employees, the Oklahoma Today magazine and the Miami Travel Information center. Here is a look at some of the proposed park closures:

  • Talimena
  • Great Plains State Park
  • Cherokee landing State Park
  • Natural Falls State Park
  • Red Rock Canyon State Park
  • Great Salt Plains State Park
  • Lake Eufaula State Park
  • Lake Wister State Park
  • Alabaster Caverns State Park
  • McGee Creek State Park
  • Foss Lake State Park
  • Osage Hills State Park
  • Greenleaf State Park
  • Lake Texoma State Park
  • Grand Lake State Park
  • Grand Cherokee Golf Course
  • Boiling Springs State Park

With state agencies told to brace for significant funding cuts, the tourism industry in Oklahoma is expecting the worst.

"We're not DPS, we're not mental health, we're not DHS, but we still play an important role in the streets of Oklahoma," said spokeswoman Leslie Blair said, "and provide Oklahoma families the chance to get out and enjoy the great outdoors."

Tourism is the state's third-largest industry. The parks would not necessarily close or vanish. They may be handed over to municipalities.

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