San Francisco - On January 9, Governor Jerry Brown released a Fiscal Year 2014-15 State Budget that, for the first time in years, contains a modest amount of additional funding for state parks and avoids park closure proposals. Recent capital gains revenues have created a “windfall” of funding that the governor’s budget proposes to direct to one-time purposes. This budget proposes to provide $14 million to the Department of Parks and Recreation to maintain current service levels at California’s state parks, and $40 million to address the deferred maintenance backlog in state parks.
Below is a statement from Elizabeth Goldstein, President of the California State Parks Foundation (CSPF):
“The one-time funding for state parks included in this proposed budget is a welcome sign of renewing a commitment to investing in our state parks, and we hope that it is the beginning of a more stable period for state parks. We are pleased that this infusion of one-time funding reverses the trend of closures that have characterized the past six years. CSPF has fought hard during this period against park closures while proposing significant policy changes, supporting partner organizations managing parks, and co-funding local efforts to keep parks open.
“This infusion of funding is especially welcomed this year as the state prepares to commemorate the founding of our state park system 150 years ago. The $14 million in State Park & Recreation Fund support for general park operations is critical to renewing the faith of the donors and organizations that have supported state parks in the past few years. Though there is work still to be done in prioritizing and bringing greater transparency to the existing deferred maintenance backlog in the state parks system, $40 million in funding to chip away at that backlog is sorely needed and should help make critical repairs in our parks.
“We applaud Governor Brown for making these important investments in our state parks. CSPF and many park partners continue to work with the Parks Forward Commission to bring ideas for reform and change to our parks that will ensure parks remain available, accessible, and enjoyable for all Californians into the future. This funding is a critical bridge to stabilizing our parks system while that work continues, and we look forward to working with the governor’s office, the Legislature, and the Parks Forward Commission to support this budget proposal and bring about positive and much-needed changes for our state parks.”