Minden Press-Herald

Oct 01st

Local draws feeling pinch

Facing shorter hours and days of operation may be daunting to some museums and state parks, but local authorities are keeping a positive outlook.

"I know it looks bad for some areas, but Webster Parish has the Dorcheat Museum, which is privately run and funded, and a great group of people working for the Germantown Colony Museum," said Lynn Dorsey, Executive Director of the Webster Parish Convention and Visitor's Bureau. "It's going to continue to be up to the Friend's of the Germantown to raise money for the museum."

The Friends of the Germantown Museum is a group of volunteers that helps raise funds for the operation and renovation of the museum.

With the start of the 2011-12 fiscal year, which began July 1, limitations were announced to operating hours at state parks and pools. The state's museum system took a 53 percent budget cut, which has prompted local museums to cut their hours to absorb the loss of funds.

The Germantown Colony Museum will modify their hours to be open Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

According to the Office of State Parks, effective immediately, entrance station hours for state parks will be 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. until 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday. Gates will continue to open at 6 a.m. at sites with boat launches and 7 a.m. at sites without boat launches.

Late-arriving guests are advised to contact the park prior to their visit to make check-in arrangements. On a case-by-case basis, park managers also may be able to accommodate early arrivals and late departures.

Operating hours for Historic Sites will remain 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily; closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's days.

In the heart of the summer tourism and vacation season, the hit to Louisiana's state-run recreational areas, parks and educational pastimes could put a damper on local tourism, but Dorsey doesn't think there will be much of an issue.

"I think it (Germantown Colony Museum) will overcome the shortened hours," she said. "It doesn't matter how long it's open if there isn't much to see, and until the new Visitor's Center is built many of the artifacts are in storage in Baton Rouge."

According to Dorsey, the construction of the Visitor's Center will not be effected by the budget cuts. Bidding for the construction of the Center is currently under way.






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