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Cali Parks Turn to Non-Profits for Help

Published October 12, 2011

SACRAMENTO, CA (BRAIN)—California's Department of Parks and Recreation has begun the process of closing 70 of the states 276 state parks even as park supporters race to find non-profits to keep some of them open.

Around the state, some of the 70 parks slated for closure are already seeing significant portions and areas of individual parks close. All of the 70 parks on the state's closure list are anticipated to have service reductions enacted between now and next spring that will become permanent closures on July 1, 2012.

It remains unclear what impact Assembly Bill (AB) 42, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last week, will have. AB 42 allows non-profits to take over state park operations, but the cost of operating some parks will make it too expensive for many such organizations.

“Even with the success of AB 42, there may still be parks for which there is no easy solution, nor available community ‘safety net’ to keep them open," said Elizabeth Goldstein, president of California State Parks Foundation. "That is a difficult future to contemplate. In the coming months, we will be working to encourage qualified nonprofit organizations to pursue agreements under the provisions of AB 42, and we remain committed to helping organizations, businesses, agencies, and Californians identify ways they can help work to save our state parks.”

Although disappointed with the decision to close parks in the first place, Goldstein said the Foundation was pleased Gov. Brown signed AB 42.

"Our state park system was created by the creativity and passion of dedicated citizen groups, and it is time for today’s generation of organizations to pick up the torch,” she said. “In the more than 40-year history of CSPF, we’ve never seen our state parks system at as much risk as it is today."

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