Robbers Cave State Park in southeastern Oklahoma is one of the state's most popular parks.

Budget Cuts Mean Fewer State Parks


Oklahoma’s state parks, lodges, golf courses and travel information centers are managed by the Parks Division, which is organized within the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation.

OakleyOriginals / Flickr

Robbers Cave State Park in southeastern Oklahoma is one of the state's post popular parks.

The tourism department has suffered a 22 percent budget cut since 2009, and officials in 2011 announced plans to close or transfer seven state parks, a move that Executive Director Deby Snodgrass said would save taxpayers $700,000 a year.

The parks were sparsely attended, generated little revenue from activity fees, and often duplicated amenities of more popular parks nearby, Snodgrass said.

Cities ended up taking over five of the parks; American Indian tribes assumed management of the other two.

Currently, Oklahoma has 35 official state parks.

Appropriation for State Parks
2011 $11,117,884
2010 $10,222,308
2009 $11,486,806
2008 $12,827,001
2007 $14,541,892
Source: Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation data.

Latest Posts

Four More State Parks at Risk as Budget Cuts and Low Revenue Loom

Four state parks in northeastern Oklahoma could be sold off, leased out or closed due to state budget cuts and low park revenue. Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation hasn’t made a final decision on three of the parks, but is considering selling or leasing Disney/Little Blue Area at Grand Lake, Snowdale Area at Grand [...]

How Hugo Lake Lost Its State Park Status

Fishing near Hugo Lake park, which lost its state park status in June 2013.

The Oklahoma Tourism Commission on June 26 voted to strip Hugo Lake of its state park status, citing low attendance. The commission acted “quietly,” but state Sen. Jerry Ellis, D-Valliant, responded loudly, The Journal Record’s M. Scott Carter reports: On Aug. 2, Ellis sent a letter to Republican Gov. Mary Fallin asking that the Tourism [...]

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »