Donors, partnership keep Malakoff Diggins park open

04/13/2013 12:00 AM

04/14/2013 9:34 AM

Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park near Nevada City will remain open to the public this summer, thanks to donated funds and a partnership agreement with the state.

The California State Parks Foundation donated $25,000 to the South Yuba River Citizens League, which used the money to sign a partnership agreement with the state Department of Parks and Recreation. The deal keeps the park open Friday through Sunday from July 1 to Sept. 30, and in 2014 from May 1 to June 30.

Three popular "miner's cabins" will also be available to rent during the same time periods. The campground, however, will remain closed.

This matches the level of service available last year, provided by donations from the nonprofit Malakoff Diggins Park Association. The park was one of 70 slated for closure last year due to the state budget crisis.

The citizens league put $22,500 into the agreement and will use the remaining $2,500 to investigate a solar energy system for the park, which now depends on generators for all its electricity.

The agreement requires the Department of Parks and Recreation to match the $22,500 grant using money recovered in the "hidden funds" scandal at the department, first revealed by The Bee last year. This will pay for a park aide and maintenance worker.

"Our concern is what happens after 2014," said league executive director Caleb Dardick. "We're concerned a park that has great historical value, but low visitation, could easily find itself back on another chopping block."

Contact The Bee's Matt Weiser at (916) 321-1264. Follow him on Twitter @matt_weiser.

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