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Palomar Campgrounds Reopen After Successful Fund Drive

Aired 4/13/12 on KPBS News.

The campgrounds at Palomar State Park opened today after being closed for six months due to state budget cuts. A fundraising campaign launched by Friends of Palomar Mountain State Park allowed the park to open.

Good news for campers: At least eight campgrounds at Palomar Mountain State Park opened today after being closed for months.

The campgrounds were closed by the state in October due to budget cuts.

A deer wanders through a grassy meadow at Palomar Mountain State Park. The park is located on Palomar Mountain in San Diego County. Its mountain range is one of the highest peaks in the county at 6,140 feet.
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Above: A deer wanders through a grassy meadow at Palomar Mountain State Park. The park is located on Palomar Mountain in San Diego County. Its mountain range is one of the highest peaks in the county at 6,140 feet.

Palomar was among 70 parks across California with facilities slated for closure. But a nonprofit has raised $78,000 so far to keep Palomar's campgrounds open.

The fundraising campaign launched by Friends of Palomar Mountain State Park resulted in a three-year deal, in which the group will raise $60,000 annually to keep the campgrounds open.

The group's Rick Barclay said nearly 260 park lovers have made donations. The campaign started slowly but snowballed, Barclay said.

“It’s a great place to visit in these fast times, and for people who are living in the every day hubbub of San Diego, or even Orange County," he said. "It’s just a great place to get away whether it’s for the day or camp out."

Besides camping, the park has views of the Pacific Ocean, hiking trails and trout-filled Doane Pond. Palomar State Park covers 1,862 acres and is compared to parts of the Sierra Nevada because of its mountain terrain.

Although he said the state still has to sign off on the agreement, Barclay is confident it will go through.

Friends of Palomar Mountain State Park hope to establish an outreach fund to invite under-served children to enjoy the park and a development fund to move from “survival mode” to build a visitor center.

“Our vision is not simply muddling through day by day, our vision is to really make the park shine,” Barclay said.

The group is a division of a larger nonprofit called CRSPIA, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park Interpretive Association.

Barclay said no contribution is too small. They hope to be supported not just by individual donations, but also corporate sponsorships and grants from philanthropic organizations.

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