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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus

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   Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | santa cruz county
Castle Rock State Park General Plan Background

For the last 5+ years, a coalition of environmental groups has been struggling to improve the General Plan process at Castle Rock State Park. Other groups include: Friends of Castle Rock State Park, the Audubon Society, and the California Native Plant Society. We believe that Park General Plans should conform to environmental laws, protect wildlife, maintain clean water, and provide opportunities for responsible recreation. Unfortunately, the Castle Rock General Plan runs counter to these beliefs, and we have had to file suit to force the California Department of Parks and Recreation to improve that plan. Through this legal challenge, we hope Parks will do the following:

- Abide by California environmental planning law and provide the public with a chance to review and comment on alternative development plans, including plans for better camping facilities and other recreational opportunities.

- Abide by the California Environmental Quality Act and allow the public to review a scientific analysis of the sum total (cumulative) impacts of all of the currently proposed impacts to sensitive wildlife habitats that will be impacted by activities at Castle Rock State Park. Parks is currently proposing development plans for most of its tens of thousands of acres of parkland in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

- Abide by the California Public Resources Code and publish a professional carrying capacity analysis for the park.

- Delineate the boundaries of the San Lorenzo Headwaters Natural Preserve so that this important area wholly protects the resource and provides local communities with clean water in perpetuity.

- Appoint a technical advisory committee to review future documents and provide such reviews to the public.

- Publish a regional plan for all State Parks in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Planning for individual parks in a cookie cutter approach ignores the potential for day-hike long, linked camping opportunities, wildlife corridors, and other landscape-level issues.

Lead activist: Grey Hayes, 426-3880.

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