California’s state park system needs $600 million in deferred restoration and maintenance costs, money that may be tough to get considering that California is facing a $38.6 billion budget shortfall, according to the Associated Press.
This disclosure should put the RV industry on alert because officials in Washington state have tried, unsuccessfully so far, to make RV enthusiasts pay a disproportionate share of the cost of upgrading that state’s parks.
In Washington, the fund-raising proposals included extending a weight-based commercial truck tax to include motorhomes and an annual excise tax based on the market value of an RV, which would have added hundreds of dollars a year to the cost of owning an RV in that state.
However, an assortment of RV advocacy groups has, so far, been successful in resisting the efforts in Washington.
Meanwhile, in California, with the summer tourist season beginning, park officials are confronting more than 5,000 repair projects.
Among the projects needed for the state’s 274 parks are: trail repairs at Will Rogers State Historic Park in Los Angeles; improvements to rickety lifeguard towers at Malibu State Beach; refurbishment of a rotting, historic bridge at Big Basin Redwoods State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains; and overhaul of a sewer system at La Purisima Mission State Historic Park near Lompoc.
The largest project includes $113 million in repairs for Angel Island State Park near San Francisco, also known as the Ellis Island of the West because it was used for a time as an immigration station.
The 18 state parks in Los Angeles County are also seeking $350,000 for pest management, much of it to get rid of squirrels that can damage buildings.
At Anza Borrego Desert State Park in San Diego and Riverside counties, $3.8 million is needed to get rid of the invasive tamarisk trees, which choke out native plants.
The California Department of Parks and Recreation is asking for an operating budget of $275 million, but even that money won’t make much of a dent in the repair backlog.
Statewide, 85 million people visit California’s parks every year, a number that has increased by 30% over the last three years.