State Hearing Focuses on Park Closures

Some 120 people crowded into a state legislative hearing room in Sacramento Tuesday to personally deliver the plea not to close down state parks as part of the budget solution.

Among the crowd was Mono Lake Committee Executive Director Geoff McQuilkin. He said people came from many counties and state parks to testify on the severe economic and cultural impacts of park closures.

McQuilkin said the Mono Supervisors took emergency action Tuesday to draft a letter to the state to support Bodie and the Mono Lake Tufa Reserve. They faxed the letter to the capitol and McQuilkin read it into the record.

McQuilkin said testimony leaned on the tax revenues generated by businesses around state parks and the fact that the state would actually lose money from park closures.

Other consequences came up law enforcement patrols of parks, homeless people living in them, fires, thefts. It was mentioned, said McQuilkin, that even in the Great Depression California maintained its park system.

Officials in the Legislative and Budget Conference Committee will consider the parks proposal and other issues before settling on a final budget.

 
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