On Oct. 4, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill (AB) 42 (Huffman), the bill sponsored by the California State Parks Foundation (CSPF) to help keep California’s state parks open.
“Although we were obviously disappointed at the decision to close parks in the first place, we’re pleased Gov. Brown has agreed that our state parks can benefit from support, care and stewardship by nonprofit organizations in these difficult times,” said CSPF President Elizabeth Goldstein. “AB 42 is an important new tool for California to invite and engage qualified nonprofit organizations to help protect the state parks that belong to all of us. Our state park system was created by the creativity and passion of dedicated citizen groups, and it is time for today’s generation of organizations to pick up the torch.”
The signing of AB 42 into law comes at the same time the Department of Parks and Recreation begins the process of closing state parks. Across California, some of the 70 parks slated for closure are already seeing significant portions and areas of individual parks close. All of the 70 parks on the closure list are anticipated to undergo service reductions between now and next spring that will become permanent closures on July 1, 2012.
“In the more than 40-year history of CSPF, we’ve never seen our state park system at as much risk as it is today,” said Goldstein. “Even with the success of AB 42, there may still be parks for which there is no easy solution, nor available community ‘safety net’ to keep them open. That is a difficult future to contemplate. In the coming months, we will be working to encourage qualified nonprofit organizations to pursue agreements under the provisions of AB 42, and we remain committed to helping organizations, businesses, agencies and Californians identify ways they can help work to save our state parks.”