Michele Luna writes since 1979, the state park budget has decreased by 67 percent, with 37 percent of that reduction in the past six years. These cuts have come during a time when park visitation is at an all-time high.
Few would disagree that a dedicated sustainable funding source is needed to keep all 279 parks open and address the $1.3 billion deferred maintenance backlog.
If new fees are implemented, Stewards feels strongly that those fees need to stay local. Free day-use passes for Russian River-area state parks are available by volunteering 16 hours a year in programs supported by Stewards. Two hundred hours provides a statewide pass. There are affordable park passes available for Californians who are low-income, disabled, seniors and veterans of war. A reasonable pass for Sonoma County residents is needed.
You can read all of Michele Luna GUEST OPINION HERE in The Press Democrat.