Financial Crisis For Texas Parks

Texas – Drought, fire and fewer visitors have created a $4.6 million deficit for Texas state parks. Officials are asking the public to donate money and visit their parks more often.

Carter Smith, executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife agency said officials are not yet planning park closures or reduced hours and are hopeful the campaign launched Tuesday will raise the money. Visitor fees provide about half of the parks' $69 million operating budget. Smith said record heat and drought and several devastating wildfires have dropped visitation and revenue by as much as 25 percent.

Texas has 94 state parks and historic sites which draw nearly 8 million visitors annually.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.