An Important Step for Parks

An important line in the sand got drawn for state parks last month when Governor Brown signed two bills into law, Assembly Bill (AB) 1478 (Blumenfield) and Assembly Bill (AB) 1589 (Huffman). Both bills have measures that will help California’s ailing state parks system.

AB 1478 appropriates the recently-identified $20.5 million in State Park and Recreation Fund funding to the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to keep parks open that had previously been slated for closure. The bill also contains new qualifications for appointing members to the nine-member State Park and Recreation Commission. The changes to the Commission are intended to improve its ability and capacity to provide oversight of DPR and foster a more meaningful connection between the public, park stakeholders, and DPR. AB 1478 also establishes a two-year moratorium on closing state parks, in Fiscal Year 12-13 and FY13-14.

Governor Brown made the first important step toward restoring public confidence in California’s state parks by signing AB 1478. The governor’s signature is a good sign faith on the part of California’s government that all the hard work of communities, organizations and donors across the state who stepped up to support their parks is recognized and appreciated. The governor also signed AB 1589 (Huffman), which requires DPR to develop a new action plan for increasing revenues in state parks, allows purchase of annual park passes on annual tax returns, and encourages an independent assessment of California’s state parks.

AB 1589 gives the state important tools for a future that is increasingly emphasizing the need for more self-generated revenue in our parks. While we do not believe that our state park system, a true public good, will ever be able to sustain itself without a core of dedicated, public funding, we do wholeheartedly agree that the movement toward more revenue generation should be done with a roadmap. The action plan required in AB 1589 requires such a roadmap and maintains the need for revenue ideas to be appropriate to the mission and uses of our state parks.

We look forward to working with the governor, Legislature and all Californians to implement provisions of AB 1478 and AB 1589 and to maintain and strengthen the legacy in our state parks.

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Parks Bills Move to Governor’s Desk

Late last Thursday, the Legislature passed two important state park bills, AB 1589 and AB 1478, which we were very happy to see.

AB 1589 (Huffman) helps move state parks toward sustainability by providing a comprehensive and creative approach to searching for additional funding streams.

AB 1478 (Blumenfield) is a budget trailer bill that will direct a portion of the hidden funds to state parks and establishes a two-year moratorium on closing state parks.

Both bills have moved to Governor Brown’s desk. He has 30 days to sign or veto them. In the case of the budget trailer bill, he can “blue pencil” portions that contain appropriations, which would be akin to vetoing or reducing parts of the appropriations.

We  hope you will help us request the governor’s signature on AB 1478 in particular. You can send him a letter now.

Urge lawmakers to support Assembly Bill 1478

Advocacy in action.

Over the last two weeks, thousands of state park supporters have sent messages to their legislators urging them to allocate the recently-identified and unspent state park funds back into the state park system.

As a result of the strong outpouring of support from park supporters, lawmakers have introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 1478 which will appropriate $20.5 million in State Park and Recreation Fund funding to keep parks open.

In addition to allocating this funding, AB 1478 also includes several other important provisions.

  • Prohibits the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) from closing or proposing the closure of a state park in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 fiscal years.
  • Strengthens the State Park and Recreation Commission to improve their ability and capacity to provide oversight and a more meaningful connection between the public, park stakeholders, and the parks department.
  • Provides a one-time appropriation to ensure that all ongoing internal and external investigations into the DPR are fully funded.

We need your help to urge lawmakers to pass AB 1478. With only a couple days left in this legislative session, lawmakers will be making final decisions on this bill by Friday. We urge you to use our online system to send a message to your legislators and the governor specifically urging them to support AB 1478.

It only takes a minute!