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New ND Blue Book spotlights state parks

Dave Thompson, Prairie Public
Secretary of State Al Jaeger with State Parks mascot Roscoe at Blue Book ceremony

The new biennial North Dakota “Blue Book” is out.

And for this 2021-2023 edition, the feature is on North Dakota’s 13 state parks.

Secretary of State Al Jaeger publishes the book – and he gave the first, ceremonial copy of the book to Gov. Doug Burgum, at a Capitol ceremony.

Burgum said he’s happy this edition shows the importance of the state park system.

"As we compete with every other state for workforce, which we are today and will continue to do, having a great park system is essential to our ability to be competitive as a state," Burgum said. "This is no longer a 'nice-to-have' — this is a 'must-have.'"

In his “Accelerate ND” spending plan for the upcoming special, or reconvened Legislative session, Burgum proposed $33.6 million for the Parks and Recreation Department. State parks director Cody Schulz said a lot of that is for deferred maintenance.

"We've identified over $74 million of deferred maintenance, primarily in utilities — electrical and water —and roads," Schulz said in an interview. "We also have over 300 buildings in our system that were built by the CCC back in the Great Depression. Ultimately, it's time for some refreshes."

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