State park funding included in budget

By Mike Morris / The Union Democrat

Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed 2014-15 budget calls for all state parks to stay open through at least June 2015.

That's good news for tourism-dependent Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, home to Columbia State Historic Park, Railtown 1897 State Historic Park and Calaveras Big Trees State Park.

"The budget proposal is certainly really good news for state parks," said Vicky Waters, spokeswoman for California State Parks.

Less than two years ago, Railtown was one of 70 parks on a state parks closure list. The state cut its funding and area service organizations stepped in with numerous money-raising events to keep the park open.

Later, however, hidden excess funds were discovered in the State Parks and Recreation Department and state legislation was passed to keep the parks open. Those one-time funds provided by that legislation are set to expire June 30.

The proposed 2014-15 budget would provide a one-time increase of $14 million to the State Parks and Recreation Fund to continue existing service levels throughout the state park system. It would keep all parks open for the fiscal year spanning from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015.

For the full story see today's Union Democrat.

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