Over the summer, Governor Brown signed the 2016-17 Fiscal Year State Budget, which includes funding for several projects and initiatives near and dear to CSPF’s heart. This is the final article in a three-part series taking an in-depth look at these projects to tell the story of why advocacy for state parks matters. #advocacymatters #yourvoiceforparks
The previous articles of this series dug into how the state budget will bring solar energy to Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park and discussed the new funding enabling the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to create a two-year Community Liaison Pilot Project at two of the largest urban state parks in California.
This final installment dives into an issue of great concern to CSPF, our members, and the entire state parks community: deferred maintenance. The 2016-17 state budget includes $60 million of funding to address the existing backlog of deferred maintenance projects, as part of a larger $688 million budget allocation to address the state’s most critical infrastructure projects.
This funding will allow DPR to make critical repairs necessary to preserve visitor safety and enjoyment and protect our natural and cultural resources. It important to note, however, that this $60 million addresses just 5 percent of the current needs identified by DPR, which estimates the deferred maintenance backlog to be over $1.2 billion.
California’s 280 state parks contains more than 1.6 million acres of land and house over 3,100 historic buildings, as well as more than 14,000 individual and group campsites. They are visited by nearly 75 million visitors annually!
Decades of decreases in funding for state parks, and the lack of predictable funding have resulted in regular maintenance needs not being met. DPR estimates its annual shortfall in ongoing maintenance is approximately $120 million.
The fact that this funding was included as part of the Governor’s General Fund Deferred Maintenance Plan shows a commitment toward a necessary program to address the ongoing needs of the state parks system.
CSPF continues to advocate for funding to address the critical needs of the state park system, and urges California to follow the lead of other states, such as New York, that have created key initiatives to address capital funding needs in their park systems. We believe that California should also develop a clear, targeted, and intentional strategy to address capital needs in state parks.
What Is Deferred Maintenance?
Deferred maintenance is the practice of postponing maintenance activities (such as repairing a leaky roof or damaged trail) in order to save costs, meet budget funding levels, or realign available budget monies.