It was with dismay that CSPF learned on Friday that an investigation found the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) has been hiding approximately $50 million in “surplus” funds for the past 12 years. As a long-standing partner to the parks system, CSPF is shocked at the revelation that funds that could have been used to help a parks system in crisis were not being used to do so. We are especially frustrated that this occurred at the same time CSPF and the parks community has been working diligently and against tremendous odds to help temporarily keep threatened parks open.
We are angry on behalf of our members, our donors, our partners, and on behalf of all Californians. We all have the right to expect honesty from the government systems that serve us and, in this case, DPR let us all down. We fully support the state Department of Finance’s proposed comprehensive audit of DPR.
As an independent, nonprofit organization, CSPF is committed to continuing our 43-year-old mission of protecting, enhancing, and advocating for our state parks. Our parks still critically need our efforts in that regard, now more than ever. The crisis that led to closures has not disappeared , even with the infusion of one-time funding from these sources. We hope the millions of funding that may be available to state parks be directed to assist with keeping parks open now and help support enterprise activities to generate ongoing revenue for parks.
We know it will be challenging in the days and weeks to come, but we remain committed to our state parks and to working to ensure they remain open, accessible and enjoyable to all Californians.