SACRAMENTO – Gov. Jerry Brown has signed the California State Parks Stewardship Act of 2012, legislation jointly authored by Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro (D – North Coast) designed to make the State Parks system more self-sustaining and stop park closures. Assemblymember Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) served as the lead author of AB 1589, while Chesbro and a consortium of assemblymembers from both sides of the aisle served as joint and co-authors.
"It is phenomenal the amount of bipartisan support this bill had," Chesbro said. "It is major legislation that will change the relationship between the state and State Parks, making State Parks more self-sufficient and well-funded with sustainable revenue sources. It will stop park closures, with a net long-term savings to the state’s general fund."
AB 1589 calls on the Department of Parks and Recreation to develop a prioritized action plan to increase revenues and collection of unpaid user fees at state parks, while maintaining the character and values of the State Park System. It also creates a State Park Enterprise Fund and states legislative intent regarding the need for a multi-disciplinary independent assessment of ways to ensure long-term management and sustainable funding options for state parks.
Additionally, it includes provisions that authorize the Department of Motor Vehicles to offer special fee-based state park license plates to support the park system and allow taxpayers to redirect portions of their tax refunds to the California State Parks Protection Fund in exchange for an annual state park day-use access pass.
"AB 1589 gives the state important tools for a future that is increasingly emphasizing the need for more self-generated revenue in our parks," said California State Parks Foundation President Elizabeth Goldstein. "While we do not believe that our state park system, a true public good, will ever be able to sustain itself without a core of dedicated, public funding, we do wholeheartedly agree that the movement toward more revenue generation should be done with a roadmap. The action plan required in AB 1589 requires such a roadmap and maintains the need for revenue ideas to be appropriate to the mission and uses of our state parks. We look forward to working with the governor, Legislature and all Californians to implement provisions of AB 1589 and to maintain and strengthen the legacy in our state parks."
"I'm proud to be joined by my colleagues from both parties in this effort to preserve our state parks," Assemblymember Jared Huffman said. "This bill gives the state additional tools it needs to help keep state parks open and provide for more sustainable management of parks in the future."
CONTACT: Andrew Bird, Chesbro communications director, (916) 319-2001