Michigan State Parks officials often complain that there is insufficient revenue to adequately operate and maintain the system. The legislative response to the problem? Add more revenue-losing rustic campgrounds to the State Park system. According to an article in MIRS, a deal was cut in a late night joint House-Senate conference committee to keep six rustic campgrounds open that were closed by executive order of Gov. Jennifer Granholm in 2009.

There is a reason that the Granholm administration opted to close rustic campgrounds - they are expensive to maintain and generate little, if any, revenue. Michigan State Parks should only be comprised of exceptional natural resources, historic, and recreational properties. The State Park system can not afford to be burdened with new campgrounds to manage that will spread management and maintenance dollars even thinner. A State Park system that cannot afford to pick up trash in busy places such as the Traverse City State Park cannot afford new rustic campgrounds to manage.

The current Michigan Legislature seems incapable of making any hard decisions in order to cut spending to bring the budget in line with new fiscal realities, instead opting to pander to political pressure. It is little wonder that voters are frustrated with elected officials from both parties who continue to kick the fiscal can down the road.

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Ted Nelson is a retired Michigan State Police officer who trained police departments throughout the state on civil asset forfeiture. He believes the practice has been misused and needs to change.

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