State Parks Legislation passes the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife

This month, Senator Sam Blakeslee is continuing his fight to keep state parks that are threatened by budget cuts from shutting their doors.  Senator Blakeslee recently presented SB 356 to the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife. After passing successfully through the Senate and Assembly policy committees, the bill will next be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. If no amendments are needed and the Assembly votes in its favor, SB 356 will then be sent to the Governors’ desk for signature.

The bill’s success is especially critical in light of the austere budget passed by the Legislature that closes 70 parks in California. Because parks often attract tourism dollars to local economies, the bill would give local governments the ability to temporarily take over parks operations until California has enough funds to open the facilities again.

“I believe there are many citizen and municipal groups who value these parks enough to operate and maintain them,” said Senator Blakeslee. “It would be a shame for the government to close these parks without offering interested local groups the chance to keep parks open and keep tourism dollars circulating in their local economies.”

Blakeslee’s legislation will require the Department of Parks and Recreation to notify each county or city of their intention to close the park. The bill then creates a framework for how cities or counties can determine whether and how to proceed in operating a park slated for closure.

In the fifteenth Senate District, five parks are currently slated to be closed: Lime Kiln State Park, Morro Strand State Beach, Moss Landing State Beach, Zmudowski State Beach and Garrapata State Park.