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Jerry Brown wants to use $20 million to help keep parks open

August 3, 2012 | 12:46 pm

Parks

Gov. Jerry Brown wants to use some of the $54 million in newly discovered money stashed in various parks bank accounts to help keep dozens of troubled state parks open.

Brown made the announcement in a statement Friday, as his administration released an audit of dozens of smaller state bank accounts. Last month, it was revealed that two such accounts within the parks department had millions of dollars that administration bookkeepers said they were unaware of.

Brown wants to drain the $20 million found in the state Parks and Recreation fund to help pay for parks operations, but will not touch more than $30 million in a separate account dedicated to off-highway vehicle use on state lands. In the statement, Brown said he wanted to use the money to “make critically needed maintenance fixes to keep parks from closing, and help match funds from private donors around the state who have rallied to help keep parks open when they were threatened with closure.”

Brown called for 70 parks to be shuttered in his budget plan, but the bulk of those closures were avoided as parks officials entered into partnerships with private investors to keep them open. Brown spokesman Gil Duran said the off-highway funds were dedicated for a specific purpose and could not be used for general parks operations and maintenance.

“Hopefully the state can work in partnership with the citizen donor groups to make sure we have a long-term plan for keeping parks open,” he said. “This is one-time money and we’re not out of the woods yet.”

-- Anthony York in Sacramento

Photo: Gray Whale Cove State Beach near Pacifica was one of 70 California state parks once slated for closure because of budget cuts. Credit: Paul Sakuma / Associated Press

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