Tell Legislators Not to Raid State Parks Funding

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  • Governor Jerry Brown


Keep state parks funding in state parks

Dear [Decision Maker],

I'm writing to urge you to appropriate the recently-identified funds in the Department of Parks and Recreation to the park and recreation purposes they were intended. It is imperative that budgetary "bait and switch" tactics not be used with these newly-identified funds.

Specifically, the more than $20 million in State Park and Recreation Fund (SPRF) revenues which are derived from day-use admission, parking, overnight camping, boating, and other fees come from park-related activities and need to remain dedicated to park purposes. It is unfortunate that these funds weren't put to critical park uses when they were available. But it would only add insult to injury for the Legislature now to put those funds elsewhere or claim to put them into state parks but simply reduce the park system's General Fund allocation at the same time.

Over the past 14 months, groups and individuals throughout California have come to the rescue of state parks by providing temporary reprieves from closure. They did so because they were repeatedly told that the state did not have funds to support park needs.

I have no doubt the idea of using this discovered funding for other budget purposes is tempting. But it would be wrong. It would be a violation of the purposes for which the funds were collected. And it would be a signal to Californians that good deeds done on behalf of state parks will not be rewarded.

The underlying structural deficiencies that have plagued our state park system and led to the 70 park closure list are unaltered by these new funds. State parks remain essential to the people of California and local communities who rely on then for local economic benefits. Dedicating these funds to state park and recreation purposes is desperately needed to help restore confidence in California's state parks and temporarily ease the strain on the state park system.

I urge you and your colleagues in the Legislature to appropriate this money to state parks before the legislative session ends. I urge you to ensure it will truly be dedicated to making things better for our state parks and not used in some budgetary sleight of hand that leaves our park system worse off.

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]


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