Counties and Communities Scramble to Save State Parks from Closure
Communities and officials in counties across the state are having varying degrees of success keeping state parks open before around 70 are forced to close their doors this summer. It has fallen to counties, as well as for-profit concessionaires, nonprofit organizations, cities, donors, and the National Park Service to come together in order to form arrangements that will keep beloved parks available for the public’s use.
An example of success can be found out in Napa County. Both the Bothe-Napa Valley State Park and the adjacent Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park will remain open thanks to a partnership of the Napa County Regional Parks and Open Space District and the Napa Valley State Parks Association, according to John Woodbury, Parks and Open Space District manager.
And in Merced, the Board of Supervisors recently provided a $10,000 loan from its supervisorial special district funds in order to support the efforts of the East Merced Resource Conservation District, which is working to save the McConnell and George J. Hatfield recreation areas from closure. The group is attempting to collect $65,000 to keep the parks open. The city of Newman has also donated $5,000. However, the Star reports that “the deadline to raise money to keep the park open beyond June 30 is today and her group needs an additional $4,000.”
The Modesto Bee reports that “In Tuolumne County, voters can save Railtown in Jamestown by approving a June 5 ballot measure expanding the county's lodging tax to recreational vehicle parks, houseboats and certain campgrounds. Their owners have launched a campaign against the measure.” See more here.
We relayed previously that the Legislative Analyst’s Office released a report suggesting that cities and counties, as well as private and nonprofit entities, should be involved in helping to keep parks open.