Mississippi PEER Committee is hopeful to improve state parks

LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI)- State park’s lands are rundown and not ready for visitors, and most of the state’s parks are losing money.

According to the Mississippi Peer Committee, the Performance Evaluation Expenditure Review oversight group, say that it appears there is no vision for Mississippi’s parklands.

Mississippi has 25 state parks and with a vast majority of them being in shambles committee members are hopeful to make a change.

State Senator Charles Younger, of Columbus, is a peer committee member. He said that the state should consider narrowing its focus.

“The state possibly should maybe even think about getting rid of a few and just concentrating on less and bringing it up to snuff you know bringing them up to par and making them a lot nicer for our people and out-of-state people,” said Younger.

The committee reports that the state’s parks are not self-sustainable, are lacking proper maintenance, and don’t hold up to parks in other states.

“We have competition with other states we have competition with the federal parks and then you have your own private parks too so there’s competition there’s a lot of things that need to be looked at for our state to try and fix,” said Younger.

It won’t happen overnight, but Younger hopes to start with an easy strategy.

“I know many guys that have a lot of lands they lease their hunting land out to clubs hunting clubs that’s the way to do it that way the state still gets tax money and the county gets tax money on that land,” said Younger.

The committee recommended ending the cash-only entry fee to increase accountability. The full report has been presented to the state legislature for their review and possible changes.

The Peer committee says they are open to ideas from campers to help improve parks throughout the state

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