State Parks Facing Staffing Shortages

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) – Iowa parks are facing staffing shortages after years of declining funding to the state Department of Natural Resources.

Department officials announced layoffs and the dissolution of the forestry bureau in July.

The Iowa Legislative Services Agency recorded that of the 68 state parks or recreation areas managed by the natural resource department, only 24 percent have two or more full-time employees.

Department spokesman Alex Murphy says they have 101 vacancies statewide, but that they don’t plan to fill 80 of them due to lack of funding. He says the department’s budget is almost half of what it used to be in 2009, so there’s a trickle-down effect in limiting services.

Local supporters of the Mines of Spain State Recreation Area in Dubuque County say resources are going to waste.