Branstad opposed to user fee to spruce up parks

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad says he’s opposed to enacting a user fee to help spruce up the state’s parks and would rather rely on the Iowa State Parks Foundation to generate donations for park maintenance.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Roger Lande says Iowans have told him they would be willing to pay such a fee to improve state parks.

The Gazette reports that Lande raised the possibility of reinstating a user fee during budget talks with Branstad.

DNR funding has declined since 2008 and with it the number of seasonal workers hired to maintain parks.

Public complaints resulted in more money for maintenance and the number of seasonal workers should nearly double from 80 in 2011 to 150 for the fiscal year that ends June 30.