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Fate of Salton Sea Rec Area Murky

Aired 6/15/12 on KPBS News.

The Salton Sea State Recreation Area is slated for closure on July 1st. But an organization is working with the state and private donors to keep the park open.

Salton Sea is one of 70 state parks California planned to close on July 1st due to budget cuts. But 55 of the parks have either reached an agreement with the state, or are in the process of reaching an agreement, that would allow them to stay open. As long as California does not have to pay for it.

The Sea and Desert Interpretive Association has raised more than $120,000 to save the Salton Sea Park. But with the July 1st closure date looming, and no official agreement reached, board member Jennie Kelly says the state has not been clear about what is going to happen.

She said, “Being a forever optimist, I don’t see a reason to shut it down when we’ve come so far already.”

Yesterday, the Palm Desert City Council voted unanimously to donate $10,000 to help keep the park open. Other donors include the City of Rancho Mirage and the Imperial Irrigation District.

California will not officially OK a plan to keep the park open until donations reach $250,000.

Kelly says there is a common misconception that Salton Sea isn’t worth saving.

“Other than being very salty, which it currently is about 50 percent saltier than the ocean, the sea has no pollution," she said.

She added visitors to the park can enjoy boating, birding and fishing.

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