Lagunitas CEO Willing to Pay to Keep Parks Open

By Chris Roberts
|  Monday, Aug 8, 2011  |  Updated 2:30 PM PDT
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Lagunitas CEO Willing to Pay to Keep Parks Open

Flickr/Mauricio Balvanera

The CEO of Lagunitas Brewing Company is willing to sponsor a state park in Marin County, to prevent state budget cuts from forcing it to close.

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Many northern Californians know how well beer and parks mesh. And now one of the area's foremost brewers is working to make sure the combination lasts.

Samuel P. Taylor State Park in Marin County is scheduled to close within a year, part of the California state parks about to be shuttered because of budget cuts. But Tony Magee, CEO of Petaluma-based Lagunitas Brewing Co., thinks the park can at least break even -- and is willing to open up his own wallet to guarantee it, according to the Marin Independent Journal.

Magee, whose company brews a famous IPA as well as other fine craft beers, thinks the park can break even on a $750,000 operating cost, noting that many campsites there are booked months in advance.

Other Marin parks slated to close include Tomales Bay, China Camp and Olompali state parks.

Magee will meet with folks from the California State Parks Foundation and other parties interesting in keeping the state's public resources available to the public at a meeting Aug. 17.

Why does Magee want to keep Sam Taylor park open? One, it's visited by 130,000 people a year. And two, his company has its roots there: a garage in West Marin was where the brewery began, fed by water from the park's creek.

"This is like paying taxes," said Magee, telling the newspaper why he wants to spend when the state refused. "It's one I'm real happy to pay."

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