Officials hope to prevent the closure of 70 Calif. state parks with bill

Written By: Thatcher Michelsen May 10, 2012 0
As many as 70 California state parks may need to close their gates if new legislation isn't passed quickly.
As many as 70 California state parks may need to close their gates if new legislation isn't passed quickly.

State parks are great for people of all ages to get outside and experience nature as it's supposed to be. Unfortunately, these beautiful locations don't bring much revenue into a state's economy and cost a significant amount of money to maintain.

When California Governor Jerry Brown issued the Fiscal Year 2012-2013 State Budget on January 5, he decided to cut funding to the state's park system. Assuming those cuts are carried out, that would mean a total of $22 million has been cut from the Golden State's Department of Parks and Recreation over the past two years, according to SaveStateParks.org. As a result, as many as 70 California state parks would need to close their gates.

The parks would be shut down in the near future if the cuts are executed, so in a last-resort effort to prevent them from taking place, two senators have proposed a bill that would redirect money from other sectors of the state's budget, use vehicle registration fees and make entrance into the parks slightly more expensive, The Huffington Post reports.

"The notion of closing 70 state parks is fundamentally ill-conceived – it is penny-wise and pound-foolish – and it does not make sense to take what essentially would be irreversible actions if we go down this path," California state Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), a co-author of the bill, said in conference call earlier this week. "Ultimately we stepped back and said, 'There's got to be a better way.'"

The bill offers a number of innovative, cost-saving ideas such as employing regular civilians to work at the parks in capacities that highly paid park rangers would have previously held.

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