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Eye On Boise

Tue., Feb. 1, 2011, 7:38 a.m.

Lawmaker: $$ parks spent on letters could’ve bought a ‘sweet-smelling toilet’

As lawmakers question state Parks Director Nancy Merrill this morning, Rep. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, said she didn't see anything in the state parks mission about advocacy, and questioned why the department spent $11,000 to send letters to 32,000 registered boaters about the possible closure of the 3rd Street boat launch in Coeur d'Alene. "$11,000 could buy an SST, a 'sweet-smelling toilet' - I remember that number," Jaquet said. "It just seems like $11,000 you could have used in a different way."

Merrill said the $11,000 came from "dedicated Coast Guard funds" that "support public outreach and making sure people are aware when there's lost access." She said the department doesn't advocate, but tried to inform boaters about that issue and trail users about another in the Nez Perce Forest. "We have taken a position, and our board has directed us to make sure that our users are aware of what is going on on the trails that they recreate and the boating that they access," Merrill said. "That $11,000 is actually part of our funding source for public outreach and for communication."

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Eye On Boise

Short takes and breaking news from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.