New Giant City State Park Hire Aimed at Boosting Attendance

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By Nick Hausen

JACKSON COUNTY -- During the slow winter season, Giant City State Park is re-thinking ways to draw visitors. Attendance has been down the past few years at the park south of Carbondale. So managers hired Jennifer Randolph-Bollinger as the new site interpreter aimed at boosting the numbers.

"I think the park has been severely lacking their educational programs and we used to have a lot of school groups that would come out, a lot of community groups that would come out for programs and without that, our numbers have really been down here at Giant City State Park," said Randolph-Bollinger.

It's been more than five years since Giant City had a site interpreter on staff. Since then, attendance has fallen by nearly half, but Randolph-Bollinger insists the park has a lot to offer and looks forward to spreading the word.

"I think a lot of people aren't aware of all the absolutely wonderful recreational opportunities we have here," explained Randolph-Bollinger. "I mean we've got horseback riding, people can climb and rappel at two different locations in the park, we've got wonderful wildlife viewing opportunities here."

Park leaders also think hiking trails closed for the past few years because of storm damage played a role in the lower attendance. Now thanks to volunteers, those are open and the park is looking to rebound.

Randolph-Bollinger also hopes to encourage more use of Giant City's campgrounds and cabins says volunteers are always needed to help maintain the park.

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