On Tuesday, over 150 state park advocates gathered at the Capitol to show their support for state parks. California’s state parks system has faced unprecedented budget cuts that have compromised park maintenance and operation. In light of the pending closure of some of California’s locally beloved treasures, many traveled from all over the state to voice their support for legislation advancing park protection, authority for nonprofit organizations to help operate state parks, and increased volunteerism.
Senate Bill 580 (Wolk) and Assembly Bill 42 (Huffman) were both heard in their respective committees Tuesday morning. SB 580 establishes strong protections for state parks and advances a principle of “no net loss” of state park lands. AB 42 provides authority for the state to enter into operating agreements with nonprofit organizations to operate state park units. When these were taken up in committee, each room became jam-packed with state park advocates, anxious to provide testimony. Fortunately the message was heard loud and clear, each bill passed out of its respective committee and will continue to the next step of the Legislative process – Appropriations Committee.