Target: Governor Jerry Brown
Goal: Prevent future budget cuts to the California Department of Parks and Recreation.
California’s state parks are facing multiple park closure proposals by Governor Jerry Brown and the California Legislature. These proposals threaten the very existence of these wonderlands and would ultimately mean permanent restrictions on visitor access, the loss of hundreds of park employee jobs, and an increased pressure on struggling local economies. Furthermore, California’s travel and tourism industry including tour operations, hotels, locally owned bed and breakfast establishments, restaurants, and retail stores that depend on parks for visitation and economic activity will be negatively impacted. At a time when our economy is hurting and our unemployment rates remain unacceptable, closing California’s state parks will be bad for business as well as the environment.
The California parks system is a network of incredible regions that spreads across 280 parks, covering 1.6 million acres. Visitors come to enjoy the immeasurable value of California parks, learning about biodiversity and conservation strategies and immersing themselves in nature. Sadly, for years the system has been plagued by bureaucratic mismanagement, deteriorating park conditions, and a lack of proper park maintenance. The fiscal and human stimuli created by parks are truly underrated and should indicate to lawmakers that instead of defunding parks, they should be considering strategies to internally restructure the parks system.
California’s government has been static in terms of assisting state parks, besides allowing the most basic of maintenance. Although attendance has been declining, particularly among minority and youth populations, consistent park patrons continue to utilize the parks’ assets and find them intertwined with their daily hobbies and activities. It is important to note that the Department of Parks and Recreation will not ask for (nor receive) more funding until it believes enough public support for parks has been garnered. The task is monumental, but our parks deserve our protection and should not be subject to defunding.
By signing the petition below, you will be urging California Governor Jerry Brown to prevent future state budget cuts from negatively impacting our beloved national parks, which are vital to the health of our environment and the economic growth of our society.
Dear Governor Brown,
As you know, California state parks are feeling the pressure and burden of our slowly recovering economy and are at risk of being closed due to California’s budget deficit. Although it may seem like an easy and simple amenity to cut from California’s budget, state parks provide an immeasurable value to the public and local economies. If California’s parks were to close, small businesses that rely on park visitors for survival would be jeopardized, hundreds of jobs would be lost, and generations to come would not be able to enjoy nature so closely to home.
Every year, California’s parks draw thousands of visitors, instilling in them a sense of gratitude and fulfillment. It would be horrible to see our great parks close because of our government’s inability and hesitation to try alternative funding and management strategies. Please don’t give us any more bureaucratic promises. Instead, prove our doubts wrong and take action through legislation to preserve our parks. These parks are too important to California’s economy and quality of life.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Gentgeen via Wikimedia Commons