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Georgians Unite for Scouting and State Parks
New Scouting initiative helps preserve Georgia State Parks

February 11, 2010

ATLANTA – Inside the State Capitol today, legislators from both parties joined together to support Georgia’s State Parks, which have suffered heavily from painful budget cuts, necessitated by severe declines in state income.  Surrounded by Democratic and Republican legislators as well as a contingent of Scouts, Governor Sonny Perdue and Department of Natural Resources Chairman Chris Clark announced the “Scouting for State Parks” initiative which will engage thousands of Scouts and volunteers in service projects benefiting Georgia State Parks.

As in many state park systems, income shortfalls and budget cuts have forced Georgia’s State Parks to forgo much-needed maintenance, cancel improvement projects, and cut staff and public resources.  The Scouting for State Parks initiative helps the state continue to manage its parks at no additional cost to taxpayers by enlisting many of Georgia’s 200,000 Scouts, leaders, volunteers, and alumni.  It demonstrates what cooperation between the state and its citizens can achieve.

Each of Georgia’s thirteen Scout chapters (called “councils”) has committed to undertake a large-scale project for a local state park during 2010, the 100th Anniversary of Scouting.  Additionally, councils will encourage youth pursuing Eagle Scout, Scouting’s highest rank, to perform their capstone service project in a Georgia State Park.  Annually, 1,200 Georgia Scouts earn the Eagle Scout rank (50,000 nationwide). 

Republican Senator Chip Pearson and Representative Earl Ehrhart co-sponsored the initiative with Democratic Senator George Hooks and Representative Pedro Marin

“For 100 years, Scouts have served Georgia’s communities,” said Scouting’s Georgia State President Scott Sorrels.  “Now, during Scouting’s Centennial, we’re focusing our resources like never before to tackle a critical need – the budget crisis in our state parks.” 

“We saw our state in trouble and we realized Scouting has 200,000 youth and adult volunteers in Georgia who can help,” explained Alvin Townley, a national author and Scouting advocate who helped develop the program. “And to make it happen, we brought together Democrats, Republicans, and diverse communities across the state – all through Scouting; all for an important cause.”

Latest News: South Carolina unveils “Scout Carolina” patch for Scouting for State Parks participants.

Scouts dig into a park service project.