Montana deserves more from its parks and recreation system

Study after study shows that one of the primary reasons people choose to live in Montana is our unique quality of life. And study after study shows that one of the most important elements to our quality of life is outdoor recreation. One would think that our demands for outdoor recreation coupled with the numerous spectacular natural assets and historical sites that fall within the Big Sky state would result in one of the finest state parks systems in the country. But this is far from the truth.


Parks' Staffing is at 68% of peer states.

Based on Parks Division 2015 study of peer state staffing.

Visitation keeps increasing, but budgets are flat.

In fact since 2000, visitation has doubled and is expected to exceed 2.5 million in FY15.

Montana has the most state parks and the second smallest budget.

Based on peer states in our region using 2012 operating budgets.

Parks Receive No Money from the General Fund or Fish, Wildlife and Parks.


In actuality, despite the herculean efforts of state parks staff, Montana's state parks and recreation system is one of the most underfunded, endangered and antiquated systems in the West. This must change. Montana State Parks — which is also the primary non-consumptive recreation provider in Montana -- need more support and more funding not only to meet national standards but so that we can meet an increasing demand for parks and recreation sites as our population grows and demands on existing sites increase.