Priority Campaign Update
Help save California's state parks
Signatures must be gathered by mid-April
Don't let our state parks be shut down as pawns in California's budget politics. Help pass an initiative to guarantee them adequate long-term park funding!
In 2008, 48 parks were proposed for closure, and in 2009, 220 of the state's 278 parks came close to being shuttered. A last-minute reprieve has kept parks open this year, though many with reduced hours, and extensive cuts can be expected next year.
Now Gov. Schwarzenegger is making the parks hostage to his proposal to expand oil drilling off the Santa Barbara coast. The governor's 2010 - 2011 budget proposes to drop general-fund support for parks altogether, funding them instead with oil revenues. This Faustian bargain would trade protection of our coast and ocean for the future of our state parks. This is simply unacceptable.
Fortunately there is a better way. Sierra Club volunteers are taking the matter into our own hands with a ballot initiative to do what our government has not: to adequately fund the park system that was once the finest in the nation but that is now understaffed, with a backlog of more than $1 billion in needed maintenance and repairs, and threatened with wholesale closures.
Join us in collecting voter signatures to qualify the California State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund Act of 2010 for the November ballot. The initiative would establish stable and adequate funding to keep parks open, in good repair, and sufficiently staffed. Revenue would come from an $18 annual vehicle-license surcharge, proceeds of which would go into a trust fund earmarked for parks and protection of wildlife and natural resources. With funding assured, the initiative would give California vehicles free, year-round admission to the state parks.
Some of the grandest and most visited parks in the state, and in the nation, are in the Bay Area:
- Mount Diablo, with its extensive trails, rich fossil resources, and spectacular plant communities;
- Bethany Reservoir and Candlestick Point State Recreation Areas, havens for fishing, windsurfing, bird-watching, and relaxing;
- Mount Tamalpais, renowned for its redwood and oak groves, fabled hiking paths, and spectacular views from the 2,571-foot peak.
All these priceless public assets are owned by the people and should be cared for and kept open - for us and our children today and for generations to come.
This month's key action
To meet the deadline for the November ballot, parks supporters must gather 700,000 voter signatures by mid-April. We need your help. To join in, contact Bay Chapter conservation coordinator or call (510)848-0800, ext. 323