CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — There are concerns tonight about a bill in the Legislature that would involve privatizing some aspects of West Virginia state parks.
Right now, private firms are allowed to operate certain activities in six state parks, but a bill before the Senate would let all state parks and forests have certain private vendors. Supporters say it’s all just for camping and recreation, but critics worry it will open the flood gates.
“This is an opportunity for us to work with private development, bring in private capital to West Virginia to build campgrounds, cabins, things that are much needed where we have a waiting list right now for people to get into our parks,” said Del. Dana Farrell, (R) Kanawha.
“Lawmakers are interested in opening privatization of activities like casinos, like amusement parks, like off-road vehicle trails,” said Angie Rosser, of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition.
Bill sponsors say they are not interested in those things, and that the idea of expanding casino gaming to parks would have to come before the whole Legislature as a separate bill.
This latest measure, House Bill 4408, has already been approved in the House by a wide margin. It’s currently in the Senate Finance Committee.