What The State Parks "Found Funds" Issue Means For Sugarloaf
Just as our Team Sugarloaf partners were settling in to operate Sugarloaf this month, news arrived from Sacramento that a new crisis for State Parks had arrived. Reserve funds totaling 54 million dollars were discovered that had accumulated over 12 years, 2 directors, and 3 administrations. The funds hadn't been reported, even during the recent fiscal crisis where a shortfall of 22 million dollars resulted in a process to close a quarter of California's state parks.
You can imagine questions and challenges this might pose for organizations like SEC and our partners who've worked hard for months to keep state parks open. Will the state suddenly have funds to reopen them and ask us to go, will they start to pay groups who run them? Will confusion or frustration cause the public to stop supporting these now community-run state parks?
The answers aren’t simple. In short, we don't know what will happen in Sacramento. We do know that little is likely to change locally. State Parks new director and local staff tell us that there are no changes being discussed about our parks. There is an investigation going on to understand what happened, and it will be months before this is sorted out. Moreover, there is nearly 1.3 billion dollars of deferred maintenance across the state park system, and not enough yearly revenue to operate the parks that are still open. The discovered funds, while they might be useful, won't change the underlying issue that parks are in need of new solutions and partnerships to survive in the years ahead.
Knowing this, we will face the challenges that this crisis and others have brought to our parks, and we will strive to work with all who love these beautiful and vital places, like Sugarloaf, to assure that they stay open and protected. We will need your support to continue our work.
Thank you for your part in the Team Sugarloaf partnership, as we help Sugarloaf and its tremendous natural and cultural resources thrive into the future.
Our community-run Sugarloaf Ridge State Park is fully open!
Learn more about Sugarloaf at the following links!
Visit the park website (sugarloafpark.org) for current news and information
Donate here (Select the Sugarloaf menu option)
Support Team Sugarloaf Partners:
Valley of the Moon Observatory Association (Robert Ferguson Observatory)
Valley of the Moon Natural History Association
United Camps Conferences and Retreats
Sonoma County Trails Council
Sonoma Ecology Center
And our Sonoma County association:
Parks Alliance for Sonoma County