Bill Could Keep State Parks Open

AB 1478 would benefit California state parks that were slated for closure

By Sarah Grieco
|  Thursday, Sep 13, 2012  |  Updated 4:32 PM PDT
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California's Great Parks

The future of Palomar State Mountain Park looks hopeful.

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Some of California state parks that faced closure when the governor announced budget cuts last year might be saved with a new bill passed by California lawmakers.

If signed by Governor Jerry Brown, Assembly Bill 1478 would delegate a portion of the $54 million recently discovered in a surplus fund in July back to the California Parks and Recreation Department.

The bill would also prohibit the department from closing or proposing closure of state parks in the next two years.

In July, parks Director Ruth Coleman stepped down along with a chief deputy amid questions about the department's funds when the large surplus was found. Many parks were threatened to close or struggled to stay open because of slashes to the California budget.

But it will be good news for the parks if Brown signs AB 1478, as $20.5 million would be given to the parks department.

Palomar State Mountain Park, which had to raise money in order to stay open, could benefit if Brown approves the bill.

Palomar has been able to fundraise in order to keep the park staffed. But the passage of AB 1478 would ensure that the park could stay open for a few more years.

Other legislation is also aimed to help the parks. Assembly Bill 1589 would require the parks and recreation department to create and implement a plan to increase park revenue and collection of used fees.

Both bills awaits a signature from the governor, who has until the end of the month to make his decision.

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