MAMMOTH LAKES – In the scrambling effort to continue to somehow balance its budget, the State of California and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger are contemplating closing 220 California State Parks. This includes Bodie State Historic Park and Mono Lake South Tufa Reserve in the Mono County region.
The Mammoth Lakes Town Council was asked to consider this item as an urgency matter at their June 3 meeting in order to try and prevent the closure and therefore local revenue streams these parks provide.
According to Town Manager Rob Clark and a memo from Sheryl Watson of the California Department of Parks and Recreation, closing the parks would cost the States General Fund more than twice as much as leaving them open. In her memo Watson states that closing the parks would save $149 million but would cost more than $350 million in lost revenue. Watson added that eliminating the $149 million also eliminates the $6.5 billion in profits generated by visitor spending in local businesses around parks.
Clark pointed out to the Council that the closures of Bodie State Historic Park and Mono Lake South Tufa Reserve would not only affect the sales tax collected by the State, but would also affect the Town and County share of sales and hotel taxes.
Council voted unanimously to send a letter to State representatives opposing the closure of the two parks.