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Parks Director Says Public Funding Vital For Future Of State Parks

Many Californians are thankful nearly all state parks will remain open this holiday despite budget cuts. But the state parks director warns it's just a temporary fix.

Aired 7/3/12 on KPBS News.

70 California state parks were set to be closed this holiday due to budget cuts, but most are still open, at least for now. Non-profit organizations have jumped in to help many, but the state parks director says public funding is crucial.

Ruth Coleman says new partnerships with nonprofit organizations, cities and counties have helped keep all but one of the 70 state parks on the closure list, open a while longer.

Coleman says in 1979, 91 percent of the park's budget came from general purpose taxes. This year, it's just 29 percent. “So in one generation, we have really reduced the amount of taxes that we give to our state park system, and instead we're expecting them to generate more of their own revenue,” said Coleman.

Coleman says there are limits to how much money parks can raise. She says Californians needs to take a serious look at what they're willing to do to keep parks open for future generations.

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