Among the parks closed because of budget cuts was the Providence Mountain… (Los Angeles Times )
Re "State urged to give up some parks," March 26
The public and its elected and appointed representatives should be very cautious about relinquishing control or ownership of California's state parks to other groups or agencies, as recommended by a government oversight group. The parks are part of our common heritage; they belong to the people.
What guarantees are there that cities, counties, regional agencies or other organizations can manage the state parks better? Maybe with renewed attention and interest from the governor and others, the state itself can do a better job.
Until the California Department of Parks and Recreation ceases to be primarily a law enforcement agency, no real change can occur. California cannot afford the costly exercise of training and equipping a corps of peace officers with no real expertise in park management. We should look to the National Parks model, where any employee can rise to run a park.
The department's focus should not be on entrepreneurship but on stewardship. Turning over state parks to local entities would result in the gradual loss of these precious lands. One example is Malibu Bluffs, formerly a state park but now slated to become a sports complex.
Over the years, the state parks budget has been repeatedly cut. John Laird, California's natural resources secretary, had it right when he proposed as a legislator a permanent source of funding through vehicle registration fees.
Byron H. Botker
A big reason the state parks system is in such disarray is because too many bond issues were passed by the voters that resulted in a large number of property acquisitions but inadequate funds to operate them. At the behest of lobbyists, the bond issues included white elephants and pork; some of the properties had at most a very local interest.
Some of these properties, like that of the lower Topanga Creek in 2000, not only were unnecessary but were also too costly to renovate and maintain, further sapping the available and meager resources.
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