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Despite Budget & Service Cuts, State Parks Has an Extra $60 Million, Say Advocates
A road runs through the Inspiration Point area of Anza-Borrego State Park | Photo by Lars Dugaiczyk via Flickr
In a figurative spanking, an internal state legal opinion in early October said that state parks employees were sheltering $60 million purely for projects that benefited dirt bikes, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and snowmobiles. The money comes from a fuel tax that is earmarked for off-highway vehicular recreation, but environmental advocates say this money can also go towards unpaved road maintenance throughout the entire state park system, according to a California Legislative Counsel opinion.
“The lion’s share of fuel tax revenues that make up the [Off Highway Vehicle] Trust Fund come from people driving on dirt roads to access hiking, fishing or camping and these people should be able to benefit from their own tax contributions,” said Karen Schambach, the state field director for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. “The language of the statute on this issue is crystal clear.”
In the October 7th legal opinion directed to Senator Fran Pavley, the conclusion was that OHV Trust fund revenue may be spent to provide motorized access to non-motorized recreation such as hiking, camping, fishing and other activities. PEER contends that 83% of funds generated were by street legal vehicles, but 100%--not the remaining 17%--was being used for OHVs.
The current funding model administered by the Parks department leaves roads in parks without OHV activity in poor condition. “The OHV Division is supposed to administer the fund, not be advocates for one type of recreation,” said Schambach. “With funding for recreation drying up, it is unconscionable that tens of millions of dollars are being hoarded for off-road vehicles.”
In late October, State Parks officials released service cuts to parks in order to balance its depleted budget.
Southern California's Snow-Capped Mountains Are Beautiful. Here's Where To Maximize The View (And Snap A Great Picture)It's been many, many years since we saw this much snow in our mountains. Going up there right now isn't safe, but here are some places where you can enjoy the view and snap a pic.
April Valentine died at Centinela Hospital. Her daughter was born by emergency C-section. She'd gone into the pregnancy with a plan, knowing Black mothers like herself were at higher risk.
A look at years past when snows creeped into our citified neighborhoods, away from the mountains and foothills.
In the face of a drier future, that iconic piece of Americana is on its way out in Southern California.
Another Missing Hiker Has Been Found Dead In San Gabriels As Search For Actor Julian Sands ContinuesBob Gregory, 62, went missing the same day as Sands. His body was recovered near Mount Islip.