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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus
Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county
Ballot initiative could raise money for State Parks
December 2009
Bird Island
Bird Island. Photo by Barbara Baldock

Funding for State Parks has reached a crisis. Governor Schwarzenegger proposed closing most parks to balance the budget. To remedy this, Sierra Club, California State Parks Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, and Save the Redwoods League will be circulating a ballot initiative for signatures beginning in January.

The purpose of the initiative is to provide reliable funding to the 278 California state parks in order to protect California’s natural resources and wildlife for future generations. Past underfunding of the State Park system and wildlife conservation has resulted in a backlog of more than a billion dollars in maintenance and improvements, threatening our natural and cultural resources, recreational opportunities, and wildlife habitat.

Rebuilding the State Park system and protecting the State’s wildlife resources would grow California’s economy and create jobs by drawing millions of tourists each year to contribute to the State’s multibillion-dollar tourism economy. More funding would help with operation, maintenance, and repair of facilities including park visitor centers, restrooms, campsites, and ranger stations. It would also expand public access to state parks and natural areas and enhance the safety and security of park visitors.

China Cove
China Cove. Photo by Barbara Baldock

If enough signatures are obtained and the ballot initiative is passed by the voters next November, the State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund will be established. Monies would be raised from an annual $18 surcharge imposed on most vehicles after January 1, 2011. Vehicles subject to the surcharge and all occupants of those vehicles would receive free day use admission for all State Parks throughout the year.

To view a draft of the language of the initiative or to volunteer to gather signatures, please see this notice on the home page.

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