Legislation comes as Closure of Local Parks Announced

Senator Sam Blakeslee is authoring legislation to allow affected communities the opportunity to keep California State Parks open. The bill, SB 356, was unanimously passed out of the Senate Natural Resources Committee this month. The bill’s success is especially critical in the aftermath of Governor Brown’s Administration’s announcement of a proposal to close 70 state parks across California. The proposed closures would take place in  July of 2012.  Statewide, fewer than 10% of annual visitors will be affected.

Blakeslee’s legislation would require the Department to issue formal notifications to affected counties and cities before closing a park.  The bill would then allow local government entities the option to keep the park open by voluntarily taking over park operations.  According to Senator Blakeslee’s legislation, counties and cities could sign an agreement with the Department of Parks and Recreation that would allow local control for a period ranging from one to five years.  Blakeslee’s bill also enhances opportunities for volunteers to play a greater role in park operations and maintenance.

“If the state cannot keep our parks open, local stakeholders deserve the opportunity to work together to protect the jobs, economic activity, and recreational opportunities afforded by our local parks,” said Senator Sam Blakeslee.

Five of the parks on the proposed closure list are in Senator Blakeslee’s District: Lime Kiln State Park, Morro Strand State Beach, Moss Landing State Beach, Zmudowski State Beach and Garrapata State Park.