Comparison: Alabama state parks competitive in region

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Before a legislative budget battle threatened Alabama state parks, it was referred to as the most efficient program among neighboring states.

Now the financial debate could put 15 parks on the chopping block.

So how do we actually compare to other states in the southeast?

Alabama has 22 state parks, which is about average. It's less than half of Florida (53). In fact we have the fewest parks in the southeast U.S.

Despite fewer parks, Alabama state parks see around 4 million visitors annually.

But it all comes down to the dollar. So how much are our parks really costing?

Between 2009-2010, Alabama parks cost just under $32 M to operate, while Tennessee parks cost $78 M and $81 M in Florida.

So how much of those costs are covered by guest revenue?

Alabama is most efficient there, with 81% of state park operational costs covered by money brought in by visitors.

Plus, studies show the difference between money coming in and going out has been shrinking since 1992.

But as state legislators reach deeper into state pockets, park leaders are concerned the looming cuts may have no end in sight.

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