Californians Get Free, Year Round, Day-Use Access to State Parks, if Prop. 21 is Adopted
Spread the Word and Help us Save our State Parks!
Once considered to be the best in the nation, California’s 278 state parks now rank among the country’s most endangered sites. How did they go from the best to endangered? Call it death by a thousand cuts – in this case, budget cuts. Our parks are falling apart because of persistent underfunding.
State Parks Repair Backlog Tops $1 Billion
Roofs and sewage systems in state parks leak, restrooms aren’t cleaned regularly, trails are washed out and campgrounds and visitor centers are shuttered. The repair backlog in California state parks tops $1 billion, and it’s growing. As if that weren’t enough, twice in the past two years, the state parks were on the verge of being shut down. Only last-minute budget reprieves kept them open. Last year, nearly 150 state parks were shut
down part-time or suffered deep service reductions because of budget cuts, and more park closure proposals and budget cuts are expected this year.
On Sonoma Coast there were many day-use and camping areas closed, which affected our local economy. Business owners in Jenner, Fort Ross and Timber Cove reported drastic reductions in revenue during the months when these popular areas were closed.
Trust Fund to Provide Stable and Adequate Funding
That’s why Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods, Coastwalk and over 400 groups are supporting Prop. 21, California State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund Act of 2010. Prop. 21 will protect state parks and conserve wildlife by establishing a Trust Fund in the state treasury that could only be spent on state parks, urban river parkways, wildlife, natural lands and ocean conservation programs.
Californians to Get Free, Year-Round, Day-Use Parks Admission
Funding will come from an $18 annual State Park Access Pass surcharge on all California vehicles, including motorcycles and recreational vehicles. Larger commercial vehicles, mobile homes and permanent trailers will be exempt. California vehicles will receive free, year-round, day-use admission to all state parks, in exchange for a new $18 annual fee that will support state parks and wildlife conservation. In comparison, park visitors currently pay up to $125 for an annual pass or $10-$15 per day at most parks.
Tough Safeguards Protect Public Funds
Spending from the Trust Fund will be subject to oversight by a citizen’s board, full public disclosure and independent annual audits. Money from the general fund – currently spent on parks – will be available for other vital needs, like schools, heath care, social services or public safety.
Parks Strengthen the Economy
Ensuring stable and adequate funding for state parks and wildlife will strengthen California’s economy, improve public health and protect natural resources.
State parks, which include historic sites and state beaches, attract millions of tourists every year. Those visitors spend $4.32 billion annually on park-related goods and services in California – or an average of $57.63 in the surrounding community on each visit, according to a recent study. Parks also entice visitors to exercise and lead healthier lifestyles, and they contribute to the public health by protecting forests and natural areas that are sources of clean air and water
Support State Parks, Join the Coalition
State parks are priceless public assets and vital legacies for our children and grandchildren. Please help protect them by joining the coalition at www.YesForStateParks.com. Check the website for the growing list of supporters.
Locally, this initiative is supported by the Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods, Santa Rosa Convention and Visitors Bureau, Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce, The Press Democrat, Russian River Chamber of Commerce, Coastwalk, Landpaths, Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau, Sonoma County Conservation Action, Sonoma Land Trust, Fort Ross Interpretive Association, Sonoma Petaluman State Historic Parks Association, and Valley of the Moon Natural History Association.
For a list of all those who have committed their support locally check out this blog: http://proposition21.blogspot.com/
Stewards and Coastwalk will be organizing some Days of Action locally and if you are willing help please check our website for details. We need your help to Save our State Parks.
Please Vote Yes on 21 on November 2nd!
Michele Luna, Executive Director
August 15, 2010
The State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund Act of 2010 is a statewide initiative on the November 2, 2010 ballot, that will provide a stable, reliable and adequate source of funding to protect state parks and conserve wildlife. The initiative will give California vehicles free admission to state parks in exchange for a new $18 vehicle license fee, which will be specifically dedicated to state parks and wildlife conservation.
The measure provides for a Citizen's Oversight Committee and an annual audit, both of which will ensure Californians that our $18 fee is used only for state parks, urban river parkways, wildlife, natural lands and ocean conservation programs.
We have all seen how budget cuts have starved state parks, causing them to accumulate a backlog of more than $1 billion in needed maintenance and repairs. Roofs and sewage systems leak, restrooms are not cleaned regularly, bridges have collapsed, trails are washed out, campgrounds and visitor centers are shuttered and buildings and structures throughout the system are badly deteriorated. Thousands of scenic acres are closed to the public because of reductions in park rangers, and crime has more than doubled. Destruction and vandalism of the parks themselves has grown fourfold, and beachgoers are often unprotected because of decreases in lifeguards. If this ballot measure does not pass in November we will see more of these conditions and certainly State Park closures.
This is our chance to SAVE OUR STATE PARKS and we need everyone to help us. In the months ahead, Stewards will again step up and get the word out to VOTE YES ON PROP 21!
Let me know if you can help in the following ways:
Thanks for your continued help and support.
May 16, 2010
The Governor's May Budget Revision - Restored funding for State Parks - May 16, 2010
This week the Governor included $140 million in funding for State Parks in his May revise however he is proposing drastic cuts in social service programs. This means that legislators will have a huge challenge before them as they work to pass a budget this summer. The funding for State Parks is at 2008-2009 levels, which are a fraction of what State Parks used to receive.
The California State Parks Foundation has posted an action alert campaign online at http://www.calparks.org/ , asking park supporters to send a message to legislators in support of state park funding. This also means that our work to pass the ballot measure in November is critical for achieving our goal of sustainable funding for our parks into the future and a way to address the huge backlog of deferred maintenance projects, restored staffing levels and the ability to manage new parklands.
We are awaiting a proposition number for the California State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund Act of 2010. We are also working to request endorsements for local Governments, Chambers, Nonprofit Environmental Organizations and Individuals. Please take time to endorse the campaign at http://www.yesforstateparks.com/.
Thanks for your continued help and support.
February 25, 2010
With almost two months collecting signatures for the Save our State Parks Initiative, we are proud to report that Stewards' volunteers are very close to breaking 4,000 signatures! This fantastic effort has been supported by 32 volunteers. The top signature gatherer is Jack Norick who has collected over 1,000 signatures, mostly at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. Also, Amy Racina, Keary Sorenson, Andy Kaufman, Kurt Whiting and Rich Lawton have collected many signatures. Everyone is doing their part and moving us closer to realizing our dream of a sustainable funding source for our parks.
Contact Michele Luna if you want to help us reach our 700,000 statewide goal. We will be collecting signatures until April 15th.