Reason Writers Around Town: Don't Close California State Parks, Lease Them

In the Orange County Register, Reason Foundation's Harris Kenny writes

Last year the state closed or deeply reduced services in 150 state parks. The Legislature in March approved $11 million in cuts to state parks in the next fiscal year and $22 million in cuts in future years.

Friday, state parks officials announced the closure of 70 parks from among the 270-park unit system. The department said service reductions at the listed parks will begin this summer, with closures beginning in September and all listed parks closed by July 1, 2012.

With the state's perpetually tight budget, funding for education, health care and the state's powerful prison guards union usually get top priority, leaving parks typically out in the cold year after year. The state has let the parks deteriorate to the point that they now need $1 billion in repairs and maintenance, according to the California State Parks Foundation.

...There are private companies out there that will see California's parks wasting away and envision a way to bring them back to life. Some facilities, like Tecopa Hot Springs County Park in Death Valley, operate under whole-park concession agreements, a remnant of California's once-innovative past where the state leased some parks to private companies.

Under these lease agreements, recreation companies manage and maintain the parks. The government can set any quality and maintenance standards it desires and hold the private company accountable to them with a performance-based contract.

The full column is here and the OC Register's Orange Punch blog is here

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Scruffy Nerf Herder||

    If they lease them, they can't point and say "SEE! SEE! THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS!"

    Kind of like whenever there's a budget impasse, the talk immediately turns to shutting down libraries and firehouses instead of slashing salaries.

  • ||

    Yup. How can you scaremonger when the park is open and profitable?

  • GSL||

    Or they could just curtail illegal vacation-time payouts to retirees in lieu of cutting parks or raising taxes. Of course, as George Carlin would say, we don't have time for rational solutions.

  • ||

    Don't you see? They had to close the park in order to save it.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I demand to know who wrote the two lines of unquoted text here.

    And I say burn the state parks to the ground and salt the earth. If the state can't have them, no one shall!

  • ||

    Public park.
    Privately owned.

    Those two things will not compute in the general political though process of progressive California.

  • Spoonman.||

    Somebody will react that if run by private companies park employees will be paid "under living wage", missing the point that they're being paid nothing at the moment.

  • ||

    This guy:
    coyoteblog.com does just that and had advocated for states (particularly his home state of Arizona) to do just that; often at a savings

  • ||

    Friday, state parks officials announced the closure of 70 parks from among the 270-park unit system.

    Don't forget to hang "For Sale" signs on the gates.

  • ||

    You mean weathered and tattered "For Sale" signs with a crying Indian Native American standing by each one?

  • ||

    Of course, here in Montana, people freak out at the thought of actual "private property" owners deciding who may or may not visit and use their land.

  • ||

    Didn't this work out really well in Sandy Springs, GA?

    http://sunshinereview.org/inde.....s,_Georgia

  • air max pas cher||

    THAMK YOU

  • air max pas cher||

    THAMK YOU

  • joy||

    Springs County Park in Death Valley, operate under whole-park concession agreements, http://www.petwinkel.com/pet-armani-c-19.html a remnant of California's once-innovative past where the state leased some parks to private companies.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement