Idaho gov aide: Progress on saving parks agency

admin Contributor
Font Size:

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s budget chief says the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation may survive, after all.

Wayne Hammon, Division of Financial Management director, met with Parks Director Nancy Merrill in recent days and came away optimistic she’s making headway on finding ways to save $4.5 million annually, improve customer service — and keep parks open.

Hammon says, “Those are the three challenges we gave her — and she’s making great progress.”

Otter had proposed moving oversight of Idaho’s 30 state parks to the Department of Lands and sell parks headquarters east of Boise.

But that plan had run into a possible roadblock: When the Harriman family donated ground in eastern Idaho to become Harriman State Park, they demanded the state first have a professional parks service to manage it.

Dumping the 45-year-old parks agency now could violate terms of that agreement.