I Care About California State Parks – Do You?

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I originally let you know about the YES to State Parks idea back in February 2010 in my Pretend I’m Schoolhouse Rock post. At that time, advocates were trying to get signatures to put the measure on the ballot. Well, they succeeded! And we’ll have the opportunity to VOTE YES ON 21 in November.

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“This is better than Disneyland!
If Disneyland were a ONE then this would be a TEN.”
-Comments from my 8 year old while hiking at a California State Park

California State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund of 2010

  • Right now, I pay $125 a year for my California State Parks annual pass. Or I pay $10-$15 day use fees every time I visit the parks without my pass.
  • Your support for the State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund would allow all Californians with registered vehicles to have access to ALL 278 state parks (by paying $18 into the Trust Fund when you pay your registration). Out-of-state visitors will still pay the normal day use fees.
  • $18 a year. That’s $1.50 per month.  Not quite 5 cents a day. To preserve our state parks for future generations and make them more accessible for those living today.
  • I think it’s a deal. It’s a steal! I get excited thinking about all the people who might start using the parks when that $10 or $15 dollars for a ONE TIME visit doesn’t stand in the way.
  • Not only will it preserve what we have – I hope it also improves our state park system and pulls us out of a current state of disrepair.

State Budget 101 and Our State Parks

  • Where does the state budget money come from?* Personal income tax is the #1 source of income for the state. Sales tax is a distant second. So when there are huge layoffs, jobs leaving the state, and we stop spending because we’re in a recession — then the state budget takes a huge hit.
  • Do you know the four main areas of state spending?* The biggest areas of spending are K-12 education followed by health and human services, higher education, and finally, prisons.
  • For the last two years, the California State Park Foundation, with the help of state residents, has been fighting a battle to keep state parks open and from falling into irreversible disrepair.
  • As an added bonus, passing Proposition 21 would FREE UP approximately $130 million from the state’s General Fund and make it available to the spending areas listed above.

“I’ve been telling all my friends about 21 and nobody knows about it.
I’ve never put a bumper sticker on my car, but I would for this!”

-My “little” sis said this on one of our family trips to a local park

“But I Don’t Go to State Parks – Why Should I Pay?”

  • C’mon. It’s $18 dollars A YEAR.
  • Don’t you think you might go at least once after you put in your $18 investment into a Trust Fund for the people of California and beyond?  I hope you do.
  • Once we lose these parks, this wildlife, these open spaces — they will be gone forever. We can’t take that chance.
  • You must know some families with kids — or friends — who make use of the parks. It’s a Good Samaritan thing to do. I think giving friends (or even strangers) the gift of connecting to nature is very honorable.
  • If you are already paying for an annual pass, you’ll actually save money.
  • All Californians benefit from preservation of state parks whether from tourist dollars or conservation of scenic beauty and wildlife habitat.
  • Nice state parks in your own community are an asset and have an impact on your property value.
  • With all of the discussions on climate change and the role that transportation has in emissions of greenhouse gases (around 40% in California) – the link between preservation of parks and the vehicle license fee makes sense as a way to partially offset some of the emissions from car use.
  • Tying the fund to your vehicle registration streamlines issuing annual passes. The DMV already determines residency and issues registration stickers. State parks will not need to double up on that same process.
  • Our state parks MUST HAVE a guaranteed and sustained funding source. Improvement projects in nature take time – seeds need to grow, seasons need to change, etc. Nature can’t be on an unpredictable and unreliable fiscal schedule.
  • I could go on . . . and on . . .

Take Action – Concrete Ways to Help Save Our Parks

  • Educate yourself further by visiting YES for State Parks.  They have a Get Involved page which spells out a bunch of different ways to lend your voice to the cause without putting in much time.
  • GO TO THE PARKS! Play. Get outside. Enjoy this incredible resource.
  • VOTE in November.

*Mark Baldassare is Survey Director (and also happens to be Mr. Play Parks professor and mentor from our UCI days).  The Public Policy Institute of California is the source of the data. PPIC is dedicated to informing and improving public policy in California through independent, objective, nonpartisan research on major economic, social, and political issues. PPIC bears no responsibility for the interpretations presented or conclusions reached based on analysis of the data.

Comments

  1. Michele says

    I’m still trying to learn everything that’s coming up next! I will make sure to write a full post on the subject. For now, you can sign up for the California State Parks Foundation e-newsletter (http://calparks.org/newsletter/) and you’ll be apprised of ALL the action plans they have in the works. They are asking for a “symbolic $18 donation” which I’m ALL for as long as it’s used specifically for operational costs and park improvements (so I need to make some calls and see if you can specify what your dollars are used for).

    You can become a member of the California State Parks Foundation.
    You can buy an annual pass to the California State Parks ($125) — a stretch if your husband is out of work (we’ve been there, believe me).
    You can just go to the parks and pay the $10-$15 each time, write Op-Ed letters to newspapers, and just stay active in the cause!

    Thanks for asking the question!

  2. W. Tonione says

    Yes. Yes! I was all for the measly 18 dollars. My husband has no job, we are hurting, but we were still for it! What is our next line of defense; please tell me there is something else on the horizon!

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