Democratic Sens. Joe Simitian and Noreen Evans have rolled out a proposal aimed at keeping gates open at more than 50 California state parks set to close this summer.
The proposal, which will be heard by a Senate budget subcommittee this afternoon, includes shifting as much as $40 million from existing accounts for road maintenance, septic system repairs and trails and off-highway vehicle funds to cover parks' costs.
Other recommendations include facilitating operating agreements with nonprofits, improving entry fee collection and exploring other funding.
State parks officials announced last year that 70 of the state's 278 parks would be closed, projected to save about $22 million. The department has been able to form partnerships with nonprofits and local governments to keep 16 of those parks open. Richard Stapler, spokesman for Natural Resources Secretary John Laird, said officials are involved in talks involving about a dozen more parks.
Evans, a Santa Rosa Democrat whose Northern California district includes 20 parks on the original closure list, billed the plan as an alternative to what she said would "devastate" local economies and natural resources.
Simitian, D-Palo Alto, called closing the parks "fundamentally ill-conceived," especially given potential costs for shutting them down.
Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said any changes to proposals on parks funding would be reflected in Gov. Jerry Brown's revised budget plan, expected to be released Monday.
© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.
Read more articles by Torey Van Oot
What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com
Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)
Here are some rules of the road:
Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "Report Abuse" link to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.
Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.
Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.
Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand.
Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.
Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.
Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.
Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.
Don't flag other users' comments just because you don't agree with their point of view. Please only flag comments that violate these guidelines.
You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "Report Abuse" link to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at email@example.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.
If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them.