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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

State Parks Access Pass Funding Solution

Stewards of the Coast & Redwoods is working
to restore services in our parks.

· We are raising the funds needed to keep the State Park Visitor Center and public restrooms in Jenner open.
· We are determined to continue providing opportunities for over 5,000 school children each year to use our Russian River area State Parks as their outdoor classrooms. This means funding portable restrooms for their use and maintaining the staff support needed for our docent-led environmental education programs.
· With the reduction in seasonal park staff, we are organizing volunteers to staff the entrance station at Armstrong Redwoods SNR during the off season to encourage park users to pay required fees and to provide park information.
· At this time, it is looking promising that we will move forward under the leadership of the California State Parks Foundation to pass a ballot measure in November 2010 to provide sustainable funding for the State Park system. If approved, a surcharge on our annual vehicle license fee will provide Californians with a State Park Access Pass, allowing free day use in almost all of California’s State Parks. Stewards will lead this effort in Sonoma County.

Michele Luna, Executive Director
Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods
(707) 869-9177 Ext. 4# - Office

State Park Service Reductions
to Meet Budget Cuts and Keep Parks Open
with Minimal Disruptions

In keeping with Governor Schwarzenegger’s plan for keeping parks open, California State Parks is today announcing the implementation of service reductions at parks across the State. The goal is to achieve the required cost savings while minimizing the disruption to park visitors as much as possible.

All of the service reductions are consistent with the Governor’s September 25 announcement of the kinds of service reductions the public could anticipate in order to achieve the budget savings necessary to meet severe budget restrictions.

The reductions are designed to minimize disruptions for park visitors, while keeping parks open and achieving the $14.2 million in budget savings to help close the State’s budget deficit. To achieve savings as quickly as possible, State Parks will begin implementing these cost saving measures all across the State in the next few days.

The service reductions came about through a process wherein each of the State Parks’ District Superintendents designed a plan for specific reductions tailored for each park within their respective district. The plans included all 279 parks within the statewide system. A summary of some of the most common service reductions across the State include:
• Reduce days of operation by two or three weekdays at selected parks. Other parks will close a portion of a campground or outlying day-use areas.
• Close and consolidate some park offices and/or reduce hours of operation.
• Reduce off-season lifeguard levels at some beaches.
• Remove some trash cans and fire rings from the beach and close roughly half of the restrooms at some beaches.
• Close many park visitor centers two or more days every week.
• Reduce the numbers of school tours and interpretive programs at many parks.

These service reductions are intended to ensure that California State Parks achieves its required cost savings while maintaining revenues at the highest level possible for the remainder of this fiscal year and while minimizing disruptions to visitors.

For the Russian River District, the specific service reductions for the parks within the district are as follows:

Austin Creek State Recreation Area
• Bull Frog Pond Campground and Tom King/Mannings Flat I and II Backcountry Campsites closed November 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010

Sonoma Coast State Park
• Bodega Head East Day Use, Campbell Cove Day Use, Bodega Dunes Day Use, South Salmon Day Use, South Goat Rock and Blind Beach Day Use, Russian Gulch Day Use, and Vista Point Day Use closed November 2, 2009 to June 30, 2010
• Jenner Visitor Center and Public Restroom closed November 2. 2009 to June 30, 2010
(Note: Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods, a State Park nonprofit cooperating association, is working hard to obtain funding to keep the Jenner Visitor Center and Public Restroom open).
• Bodega Dunes Campground partially closed November 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010.
• Willow Creek and Pomo Canyon Campgrounds closed November 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010.

Fort Ross State Historic Park
• Reef Campground and Day Use Area closed November 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010.
• Fort Ross State Historic Park including Visitor Center and Fort Compound closed Monday through Thursday.

Kruse Rhododendron State Reserve
• Restroom Facilities closed November 2, 2009 to June 30, 2010.

Salt Point State Park
• Fisk Mill Day Use and Lower Gerstile Cove Day Use closed November 2, 2009 to June 30, 2010.

Some visitors may be inconvenienced by these service reductions; however, it is hoped that park visitors will understand and appreciate the severe budget reductions that have occurred and help State Parks minimize the cost impacts to the system. The public can assist by hauling out their own trash and helping to keep facilities as clean as possible for the next park visitor.

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