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Protection of California’s state park resources scored some victories in 2005, but significant threats from development, transportation projects and funding pressures continue, according to findings in the third annual “State of Our State Parks” report by the California State Parks Foundation.
Released as part of the California State Parks Foundation’s annual Park Advocacy Day, this year’s report describes progress achieved and actions still needed in four key areas: under-funding of state parks, development in state parks, roads and transportation projects impacting state parks, and deterioration of cultural and historic resources.
“Despite some progress in 2005, funding shortfalls, proposed development and deterioration of precious resources remain major challenges to the state park system,” declared Elizabeth Goldstein, president, California State Parks Foundation.
This year’s State of Our State Parks report outlines specific actions needed to address the perennial threats facing state parks, including calls for policy makers to extend the sunset on the State Park Deferred Maintenance Account in the state budget, protect state parks from infrastructure proposals, fund a transportation study alternative to a toll road through a state park in Southern California, and create incentives for restoration and rehabilitation of the state’s cultural and historic resources.
A poll of California voters conducted in February found that 84% of voters consider state parks to be extremely or very important to California’s quality of life, and 62% consider reductions in funding for state parks a major threat. When asked about proposals to build toll roads through state parks to reduce traffic congestion in growing areas of the state, 69% oppose the notion.
Additionally, a mid-February field poll found that 63% of voters support including funding for parks in statewide infrastructure bonds.