Many of Georgia’s state parks will soon get spiffed up facilities thanks to a new partnership with the Boy Scouts. In celebration of the Boy Scouts of America’s 100th anniversary, the young volunteers are teaming up with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to complete service projects such as trail construction, grounds cleanup and playground installation.
“Scouting for State Parks” was announced February 11 at the state Capitol with support from Gov. Sonny Perdue, Sen. Chip Pearson and Rep. Earl Ehrhart. The project is funded in part by a donation from Verizon Wireless.
The program brings together thousands of youth, leaders and volunteers from Boy Scout groups across Georgia. Each of the state’s 13 councils has committed to undertake a large-scale service project for a local state park during 2010. Additionally, the councils will encourage youth pursuing Eagle Scout to perform their capstone service project in a state park. Annually in Georgia, 1,200 youth earn Scouting’s highest rank.
“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 address a critical need – the budget crisis in our state parks.”
Economic challenges have forced many of Georgia’s state parks to rely heavily on volunteers, cancel improvement projects and forgo much-needed maintenance. The partnership will help the agency provide better facilities and outdoor recreation opportunities to Georgia’s citizens and visitors.
“We are proud to announce this partnership that helps us improve state parks all across Georgia, and also gives young men a sense of community and accomplishment,” said Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Chris Clark. “We couldn’t do it without the generous support of Verizon Wireless, our governor and our leaders in the state legislature.”