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As I See It

WI Conservation Corps a state program that actually works

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Sometimes our government create programs that actually work. Such was the case in Wisconsin with the Wisconsin Conservation Corps. This program employed young people to do maintenance work on our state parks, trails and historical sites. It employed more than 11,000 people during its 20 year run which ended in 2003 when the state was facing a deficit. Now some Wisconsin lawmakers are trying to bring the program back. That is a good idea. This program worked, putting young people to work, teaching them valuable skills. It helped keep our parks clean and our trails maintained. Such jobs have become increasingly important as the most recent state budget slashed state support for parks. That is despite the fact that Wisconsin parks attracts about 17 million visitors, who contribute about $1 billion a year to the state economy. A number of the projects the Conservation Corps would handle have fallen by the wayside in recent years. The backlog is due to the lack of available funding and manpower. This program would cost taxpayers around $400,000, but that money would be taken from other state agencies. And organizations which set up the projects would have to match at least 50% of the cost. The Wisconsin Conservation Corps should be renewed so young people can gain valuable experience while our parks and trails would be kept clean and maintained.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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