CHARLESTON, W.Va. –– A bill passed last week by state lawmakers could possibly funnel more state advertising dollars toward state parks and state forests.

The main focus of the measure caps funding for the Courtesy Patrol system at $4.7 million but the bill also spells out if there’s any money left a percentage would go to direct advertising for parks and forests. The bill gives the authority for the spending to state Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette.

“The legislature recognizes we can do more and that there’s more opportunity there,” Burdette said.

Only a handful of state parks turn a profit each year and lawmakers approved what equaled to emergency funding earlier this year to allow parks to meet payroll. Burdette believes targeted advertising will get more people to the parks, especially those with sleeping accommodations.

“We’ve got tremendous assets in our state parks. The legislature, especially during this past legislature session, understood the financial challenges associated with them and the needs and in a very modest fashion they took some steps to put some money back in the parks,” Burdette said.

The bill, awaiting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s signature, requires the Courtesy Patrol to return the money it doesn’t spend. Burdette said efficient operation of the Courtesy Patrol will help the parks and others.

“Which puts some pressure on us to make sure that we are prudent in the way we operate the Courtesy Patrol. We think that’s a very valuable service in this state but we are always looking at ways to do that more effectively and efficiently,” Burdette said.

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  • Carmen Rutledge

    The Courtesy Patrol is beyond any rational thinking.
    As often pointed out it is outdated and totally without need with today's technologies. Plus they are rarely seen "patrolling" anymore.
    Allowing the gut that has the less than difficult job of managing it as poorly as it is run to be paid(not earn) more than the Governor, the Secretary of Commerce combined is nothing less than INSANE,

  • mook

    AMEN to brother WVU1! WHAT GOOD ARE THE CABINS IF THEY STILL HAVE FURNITURE FROM THE 70'S INSIDE. OR CAMP SITES THAT HAVE NOT BEEN ANY THING DONE TO THEM SINCE THEY WERE PUT IN !! Electric hook-up on wrong side of camp site, fire rings rusted out, can't back into site because boulders in the way that where put there to keep vehicle off grass when backing in!

  • Gary Karstens''

    The Courtesy Patrol....another effective way government helps the citizens. Government does work wonders in so many ways, but let's be mule-headed about it here in WV.

  • WVU1

    Advertising for the Parks may completely backfire if someone doesn't start investing in bringing them all out of the 70's. Though very nice, the dated product and lack of quality services makes it pretty hard to attract repeat customers.

  • Fred

    The Courtesy Patrol, once a good idea, is now obsolete, replaced by the cell phone. The folks running it have also greatly diluted its effectiveness by commandeering a large part of the funding for their own salaries. I'm not sure if I would turn over their funding to Tourism, as they are currently funding some pretty ghastly operations, i.e. the Lunatic Asylum and the Penintentiary 'ghost tours', but I am sure we can find plenty of basic needs in other areas that can be covered with an additional $4.7 million.