Lawmakers push plan to save California state parks
A new effort to save dozens of California's state parks begins in the Legislature on Wednesday.
Sens. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) and Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) are pushing a plan to fund the parks by shifting more than $40 million within the budget and charging for entrance in more places. The legislation is expected to be discussed at a hearing in the Capitol.
Last year's budget called for closing 70 parks, which is expected to save $22 million in the upcoming fiscal year. Outside donors and the federal government have stepped in to help keep 16 of the parks open, at least for a few years.
Simitian and Evans said their plan could provide a longer-term solution.
The plan was endorsed by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) said it appears "very reasonable." But Huff said the plan should include more ways for private companies to manage the parks.
-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento
Photo: Canoeists paddle near tufa formations on Mono Lake, one of the parks that has stayed open with help from a nonprofit foundation. Credit: Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times