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Published June 06, 2012, 06:08 PM

Western ND Oil Boom Means Decreased Budget for Turtle River State Park

(WDAZ-TV) - Managers at Turtle River State Park say they're forced to put construction and upkeep projects on hold because of a decreased budget.

(WDAZ-TV) - Managers at Turtle River State Park say they're forced to put construction and upkeep projects on hold because of a decreased budget.

That's because the oil boom out west is bringing much of the North Dakota state parks budget with it.

Many projects have been completed in the past couple years in the park, but with the oil boom out west, park officials are worried about state dollars coming this way.

State parks such as Lewis and Clark State Park near Williston is seeing more campers move through and has had to increase staffing to help out. And the state is increasing its budget.

"Their visitation has tripled since the boom kind of hit, the oil activity out there. And they just needed more staffing and some more things that had been on the back burner for development and repair. We certainly understand that need does arise out there," Turtle River State Park Manager Steve Crandall said.

In the past couple of years, Turtle River State Park has gotten several improvements from stimulus dollars including a nearly $400,000 bridge and new roads.

Other improvements were payed for in-house, costing nearly $60,000. More improvements are needed.

"We're trying to get some machine-built single track trails built into the park to enhance hiking and biking opportunities, re-mapping and also to mark them a little better and get some kiosks up at the major trail heads," Crandall said.

Every two years, the 13 state parks budget requests are nearly $2.5 million. Recently the parks have only received a portion of that.

"To update some of our buildings and issues typically our funding has been coming in at $750,000 to $1 million for 12/13 state parks, you know it doesn't go very far," Crandall said.

Park officials are hoping to get the money they need in the next couple of years to get the rest of their projects done.

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