Legislature moves to save California’s state parks from closing

The California State Senate is considering a bill that will keep 70 California state parks open, including Morro Strand State Beach, the Governor’s Mansion, and Moss Landing State Beach. The bill, AB 42, will allow nonprofit organizations to run these parks, giving the State Parks Service a reprieve.

The list of state parks that are slated to close was released in May. The closures were deemed necessary in order to adjust to a $22 million budget cut in the state parks system, one of many cuts Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed in his budget in order to get California’s financial house in order.

State park camping fees were increased by $10 or more per day back in 2009 at all state parks, in an attempt to stave off park closures. Yet last year, voters rejected Prop 21, a ballot measure that would have increased vehicle licence fees and used the money to fund the parks.

The State Parks Service selected the parks on the closure list because they had low attendance; according to their figures, 92% of annual state park attendance would be unaffected, and only 6% of the parks’ annual revenues from camping fees and the like would be lost.

I went down to Morro Strand to get some local reactions to the park closures and the bill to save the parks.

If the bill passes the Senate, it will need the signature of the governor for approval into law.