Will state parks be on the agenda again?

The West Virginia Legislature’s 2019 session begins on Jan. 9. Too soon.

Too soon, anyway, for a rerun of the 2018 session’s attack on state parks. Do we have to gear up again the overwhelming opposition to the proposals to log our parks?

We were suspicious of the resolution — after logging plans were dropped — to appoint a study committee to come up with suggestions to fund maintenance and improvements in the parks. The committee’s report came down to this — entry fees.

There’s a one-two punch for you. Our parks have always been treasured for their beauty and their accessibility to everyone. The Legislature seems determined to sell both.

Let’s be more imaginative about finding the money for long-delayed upkeep. For example, the existing 1.5 percent severance tax on timbering is set to expire in 2019. It could be continued and dedicated to the state park system. And/or we could put a one-cent “pennies for parks” tax on plastic bags, an increasing nuisance. By the time we all learned to bring our own bags to the store, a lot of refurbishing could be accomplished.

Hugh Rogers

Kerens

COMMENTS