If you grew up in Kentucky, I'm willing to bet you have some pretty amazing memories of visiting at least one of Kentucky's state parks. I know I do.
Our state parks are pretty amazing. They're accessible to all Kentuckians, and they provide free recreation for folks of all ages. The 49 Kentucky State Parks cover approximately 45,000 acres of the Commonwealth, and they are one of only a handful of state parks systems that remain free of charge for users. And that's where things start to get a little odd. We have a lot of state parkland, and only a finite amount of park funding. Only $8 million was allocated to park maintenance from 2005 - 2015; in 2016, the Kentucky State Parks were allocated $16 million as part of a “Refreshing the Finest” campaign which funded projects like the renovation of the then fire-damaged May Lodge at my beloved Jenny Wiley State Park. It is estimated that, at present, the Kentucky State Parks System is still vastly underfunded with a total deferred maintenance for all 49 parks standing at a total of $240 million. We take our parks for granted -- they've always just been there -- but they take serious money to maintain.
The Kentucky State Parks Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit entity that serves as an independent fundraising, advocacy, and education resource for Kentucky's state parks. The KSPF, which receives no funding from the Commonwealth of Kentucky nor the Kentucky Department of Parks, exists to help the Commonwealth's state parks stay viable. It's a pretty important job, and you can help. You can donate directly to the KSPF, you can become a Friend of your local park by joining a group that donates volunteer hours and financial resources to an individual park, or you can shop the Kentucky Parks and Crafts Poster series to show the world which Kentucky State Park you love the most.
The Kentucky Parks & Crafts Poster Series is comprised of 16 art prints, priced at $20 each, which celebrate some of Kentucky's best-loved parks. I can't wait to hang the Jenny Wiley print and the Cumberland Falls print in my office; both remind me of wonderful childhood memories!
If you'll be in the Louisville area this week, be sure to visit Revelry Boutique Gallery this Thursday, May 24th, from 5:30 - 7 pm for the release party for the entire poster series! If you'd like to win a State Park poster of your own from HerKentucky and Kentucky for Kentucky, keep an eye on my Instagram and Facebook pages. And let me know in the comments below, what's your favorite Kentucky State Park?