Tribune-Courier News Editor
GOLDEN POND - With its maintenance budget cut in half, Land Between the Lakes is looking for creative ways to continue upkeep of its roads, campgrounds and public facilities.
LBL will hold its fourth and final public forum tonight (May 1). LBL Communications Services Manager Jan Bush said the first three meetings have been productive and they hope to contiunue receiving feedback.
“They’ve gone really well,” Bush said. “We didn’t expect a big turn out. These meetings have really been to get ideas and creative thinking in how we could approach our reduced budget.”
With line item funding for LBL removed by Congress, their budget was recently cut in half, down to about $850,000 to maintain the recreation area’s dozens of roads and campsites. Facility maintenance also eats up a large portion of the service’s budget. In 2011, maintenance and groundskeeping topped $100,000 on self-service campgrounds. In the same year, similar upkeep was close to $400,000 for Wranglers Campground. And with nearly 1.3 million guests, LBL spent $470,000 maintaining 470 miles of roadway.
Bush said the public forums have produced some good ideas, along with some that were more creative but not feesible.
“We’re going to have to make some changes,” Bush said. “We’re just looking for the best way to do that.”
The final meeting will be held tonight from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Grand Rivers Senior/Community Center. Previous meetings were held in April at Kenlake State Resort Park, the Stewart County Visitors Center in Dover, Tenn., and at LBL’s administrative offices in Golden Pond.
For those unable to attend the meetings, Bush said the top 10 ideas will be posted online at www.lbl.org. Bush said they hope to draw more comments and support from visitors by polling on the site. The items will be posted on May 9.
“We want to plan ahead for budget reductions using ideas from our communities,” Bush said. “Before we make any decisions, we want to hear from as many people as possible about how we can continue to provide quality outdoor recreation and environmental education opportunities with fewer maintenance dollars.”