Maryland state parks leaders said that the state parks desperately need a boost in funding if they want to meet the growing demands of park access, high maintenance costs, updating of old infrastructures, and hiring more permanent staff to help with the upkeep and maintenance of each state park.
They’ve acknowledged that most of the park rangers in state parks were overburdened, overworked, and overwhelmed due to the lack of support, low funding, and understaffing.
State park rangers are starting to resign and leave their jobs because of this and this could spell trouble to the state parks’ maintenance and management.
Since state park rangers are similar to police and have the proper training to provide emergency services, it is only fitting that they receive the same yearly wage increase and be recognized for their work. There is also a disparity in the workloads and wages between national and state park rangers, which should be fixed.
Mel Poole, president of Friends of Maryland State Parks, a volunteer organization, recommends that the state park system add at least 100 permanent staff positions to address the pre-pandemic visitation levels alone.
Poole also estimated a backlog of $100-million worth of maintenance work that was delayed and must be addressed in next year’s budget.