Solutions for Keeping YOUR State Parks Open
a voice in the process and working on solutions for keeping your parks open.
Stewards will be signing an operating agreement with State Parks to keep Austin Creek open, made possible by AB42 (Huffman). With a $56,000 grant awarded by the California State Parks Foundation (CSPF), camping and day-use fees, donations, new partnerships and programs, Stewards will reopen Bull Frog Pond Campground, provide park protection, public assistance and trail maintenance utilizing volunteers.
The solutions for reopening closed areas on Sonoma Coast are more complex. The direction to charge new fees by Sacramento, the failure of Proposition 21 and the current $22 million general fund cut has resulted in many service reductions at coastal parks.
Since 1979, the State Park budget has decreased by 67%, with 37% of that reduction in the past six years. These cuts have come during a time when park visitation is at an all-time high.
Please realize the Governor’s November tax measure will NOT restore any funding for State Parks. In fact, if it does NOT pass, the triggers will result in cutting lifeguards and a 20% reduction in rangers. Few would disagree that a dedicated sustainable funding source is needed to keep all 279 parks open and address the $1.3 billion deferred maintenance backlog.
What are the solutions? Our legislators are proposing budget amendments (Evans/Simitian) and legislation (Evans and Huffman) to help State Parks and their partners, like Stewards, who are stepping up to keep our local parks open. While appreciated, their help is not enough.
If new fees are implemented, Stewards feels strongly that those fees need to stay local. Free day-use passes for Russian River area State Parks are available by volunteering 16 hours a year in programs supported by Stewards. 200 hours provides a statewide pass. There are affordable park passes available for Californians who are low-income, disabled, seniors and veterans of war. A reasonable pass for Sonoma County residents is needed.
Keeping our parks open will require legislation, donations, new partnerships, volunteers and advocacy.
Join Stewards so we can together represent your concerns in fighting to keep our parks open, thriving and moving towards excellence. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (707) 869-9177, or visit www.stewardsofthecoastandredwoods.org.