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Saturday, December 12, 2009

California Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund Act

Wildlife Trust Fund
California State Parks Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund Act of 2010

By Michele Luna, Executive Director, Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods

On November 3rd a proposed statewide ballot measure was filed with the Attorney General’s office. The “California State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund Act of 2010, would create a stable, reliable and adequate source of funding to protect state parks and conserve California wildlife.” - From the California State Park Foundation’s website

Initiative Basics:
The State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund (“Trust Fund”) revenues could only be spent on state parks, wildlife, natural lands and ocean conservation programs.

The Trust Fund would be funded by an $18 annual State Park Access Pass surcharge on all California cars, motorcycles and recreational vehicles that would be collected by the Department of Motor Vehicles as part of the annual vehicle license fee. Larger commercial vehicles (those subject to the Commercial Vehicle Registration Act), mobile homes and permanent trailers would be exempt.

Vehicles subject to the surcharge and all occupants of those vehicles would have free day use admission to all state parks throughout the year.

Trust Fund revenues would amount to approximately $500 million each year (based on about 28 million registered vehicles) and 85% would be allocated to state parks and 15% to other state wildlife and ocean protection agencies.

With a new dedicated revenue stream in place, approximately $130 million of General Fund dollars, that provide a portion of overall state parks funding, would now be available for other vital needs, like schools, health care, social services or public safety.

The Trust Fund would be subject to an independent audit by the State Auditor and a Citizens’ Oversight Committee would be created to ensure funds are spent appropriately. Audit, oversight and administrative costs of this measure would be limited to 1% of the annual revenues.
With many State Park areas closed due to the current budget crisis, Californians are getting a glimpse of what is to come if we are not successful in passing this important initiative. Our parks will be lacking in all essential services and they will be trash-ridden and fouled by visitors who use the parks regardless. Our precious natural and cultural resources will not be protected and may be lost forever.

We need your help in getting this initiative on the ballot and then voted into law during 2010. After the Attorney General’s office provides a title and summary for the initiative, signature gathering can begin. We expect this to occur right after the New Year.

Volunteer Signature Gatherers Needed

The more volunteers we can recruit and train to gather signatures the more cost-savings there will be for a campaign that will cost in the millions. Stewards is proud to sponsor one of the first signature gathering workshops in the State in Santa Rosa on December 12, 2009. Anyone interested in gathering signatures MUST attend a workshop to become acquainted with the details involved with collecting signatures that will qualify the ballot measure. Please email or call (707) 869-9177 with your name, preferred email address and phone number and we will get back to you with the details of where and when to meet. If you cannot attend this workshop please let us know and we will work on scheduling another one after the first of the year.
For more information about the California State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust fund Act of 2010 visit

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