Many state parks bills proposed in 2017 - including one that would stop the Rock Island Trail State Park| Columns |

Headlines are quick hits from media outlets from Missouri and around the world. Follow the headline link for the full story. The source of this headline says:

Only months after Missourians gave a resounding 80 percent “yes” vote to renewal of the Parks, Soil and Water Sales Tax with majorities in every county in the state — and during the centennial year of our award-winning state park system — some legislators are still trying to hobble park managers.

Missouri residents who love their parks need to tell their senators and representatives to stop the attack.

State parks are more popular than ever, and they pack an amazing economic punch, largely in rural communities. A 2012 study found that nearly 18 million park visitors generated more than $1.2 billion in sales, $123 million in taxes, and 14,535 jobs. For every dollar in state funds invested, the economic return was $26. Last year’s 21 million visitors would have had an even greater impact.

Yet, last year, there were a dozen bills introduced to force the sale of new parks, unduly constrain the acquisition of new parkland or otherwise hamstring the system. Fortunately, none passed. This year, there are two dozen such bills, seven by Rep. Robert Ross, R-Houston, alone. . . .

Other bills would remove the state park property tax exemption (e.g., Ross’s HJR26); prevent any land acquisition, even by donation, until the entire backlog of infrastructure rehabilitation is completed (Pietzman, HB698); or require public notice and hearings on any proposed land acquisition (Cunningham, SB35), a breach of the rights of private landowners and a constraint to often-complex transactions.

MoBikeFed comment: At MoBikeFed our highest concern among these bills is HB 698, to prevent any new state park lands from being acquired.

If passed, this bill would stop Rock Island Trail State Park development in its tracks. We don't want that to happen!

This is one of the primary issues we'll be discussing at Bicycle & Pedestrian Day at the Capitol on April 10th.

Please join us--we need voices from regular citizens like you, to help educate our elected officials about these issues.

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