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February 17, 2010

To All VAFP Members:

Governor McDonnell announced today a package of budget cutting proposals that include closing
five state parks. It is essential that you contact your duly elected State Delegate and Senator to
inform them of your opposition to the Governor’s proposal.

Here’s some information on the specifics of the Governor’s proposal. The five parks are Twin
Lakes, Caledon, Mason Neck, Staunton River Battlefield, and False Cape.
 As most of you know, Twin Lakes is probably Virginia’s most historically significant
state park for African Americans.
 Caledon and Mason Neck are two natural treasures that are home to significant
populations of the American Bald Eagle and sites that played a significant role in the
national efforts to restore the eagle population.
 Staunton River Battlefield played a significant role in the Civil War and is an important
part of the 150th commemoration that is underway.
 False Cape is simply the most remarkable pristine five miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline
on the Eastern Seaboard.

Available numbers show that these five parks generate an economic benefit of more than
$5.6 million for the local and state economies. Available numbers also show that closing
these five parks would result in slightly more than $500,000 in General Fund savings.

Given these numbers, it doesn’t take a Warren Buffett to recognize that these five state parks
produce a good return on investment. But obviously some of the Governor’s fiscal policy advisers
weren’t paying attention during Economics 101. Notwithstanding the numbers, but given a
modicum of logic, it seems that one would assume that if it’s important to invest in tourism and
keep our highway rest areas open, it’s similarly important to keep our award winning parks open
to the public.

As I understand it, the proposal provides that existing salaried staff in these five parks would
remain employed either as caretakers in those parks or reassigned to other parks in the region.
But, the associated wage staff would lose their jobs. This equates to about 20 wage positions now
and almost 90 positions during peak season.

Folks, it’s time for your voices to be heard. Please pass this information along to your friends,
families, other organizations to which you belong, etc. and ask them to let their voices be heard as
well. Contact your local paper, write a letter to the editor, and seize any opportunity to let the
Governor and the Legislature know that this proposal is simply a nonstarter.

It’s particularly important for your Delegate and your Senator to hear from you. It’s also
important for the members of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Appropriations
Committee to hear from you as well. Those two committees formulate the budget and without the
General Assembly’s approval, the Governor’s proposal becomes moot.

You can get the identity of committee members and the contact information you will need from
the legislative website at Thanks again for your continuing support for
Virginia’s State Parks. Let’s work together to stop this budget proposal in its tracks.