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Celebrating the great state parks of the US
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NEW JERSEY: State agency proposes natural gas pipeline through Liberty State Park

NEW JERSEY: State agency proposes natural gas pipeline through Liberty State Park | State parks | Scoop.it

-Tom Johnson

It is not a particularly attractive parcel, a less than one-acre strip of grass running adjacent to the New Jersey Turnpike, albeit a tiny part of one of the nation’s most visited state parks in a setting with a bird’s eye view of the spectacular Manhattan skyline...  At a hearing in the park Monday night, officials from Jersey City and conservation groups railed at a proposed lease between the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Texas Eastern Transmission L.P. to divert 0.93 acres of Liberty State Park to allow the company to build a natural gas pipeline into New York City.

 

The pipeline project, known as Spectra Energy... cuts through land that has been preserved as open space through taxpayer funds, a practice critics say is a violation of the public trust to protect those lands.  They also complain the state is getting a bad deal, even though the 20-year lease between the company and DEP will deliver $2.279 million for the diversion of parkland, money that will be used to fund green-oriented projects in a park visited by five million people each year.

 

With a more modernized gas and electric infrastructure, the administration believes it will drive down costs to those who heat their homes with the fuel, driving down electric bills as well, which now are among the highest in the nation.  The Spectra project has the added disadvantage of trying to build a new gas pipeline through the nation’s most densely populated county.

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CALIFORNIA: Trip review – Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park

CALIFORNIA: Trip review – Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park | State parks | Scoop.it

-Lucy D'Mot, State Park Closures Trip

 

No cactus or Joshua trees, but lots of reddish-orange sandstone outcroppings dotted with a variety of brush and an occasional oak.  The park is in a suburban neighborhood, offering locals some needed nature.  One cannot completely escape civilization though. Telephone poles and jet trails are part of the scenery.  A transmission tower is just steps away from the entrance.

 

The pass is an old stage coach trail and has been used in many movie and TV westerns, including as a backdrop for Bonanza.  The west end of the San Fernando Valley was a major obstacle to travel between San Francisco and Los Angeles.  Around 1860, a steep road was carved out of the rock face of these hills.

 

This park shares staff with Los Encinos State Historic Park.  Since there is no ranger actively on duty at Santa Susana, the park has a low annual maintenance cost of around $21,000.  The LA Times reports that the park has raised enough money for a one year reprieve, so it has escaped the July 1 closure date!

 

Generally I find that parks within city limits have more warning signs and are more ominous than their wilderness sister parks, and that was certainly the case here...  Other indicators that the park is in an urban setting include broken botttles and fast-food trash left by weekend partiers.  Graffitied rocks and bullet-hole ridden targets are around many a turn.  Panoramic views are marred by smog.  But there is also hiking and history.  There are birds, boulders - and if you look up instead of out - blue skies, making the park, in my opinion, all the more important for city dwellers.

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CALIFORNIA: Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park spared closure

CALIFORNIA: Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park spared closure | State parks | Scoop.it

The Petaluma Adobe Stare Historic Park, the oldest structure in the Petaluma area and once the center of General Mariano Vallejo’s sprawling 100 square mile rancho, will remain open for another year.  The Sonoma Petaluma State Historic Parks Association, a non-profit organization, will pay State Parks $70,000 to keep the park open through June 30, 2013.

 

Over the next year the Sonoma Petaluma State Historic Parks Association will be working with State Parks to improve both revenues and visitorship to the park adding special events.  These include an open air Shakespeare production of “Two Gentlemen of Verona” in August renamed “Two Gentlemen of Sonoma” and set in 1840s California, with Sonoma and Petaluma replacing Verona and Milan.

 

Although the initial goal of fundraising has been accomplished, ongoing philanthropy is likely to be part of the long term financial health of the park.  Long term underwriting for the popular Fourth Grade “Environmental Living Program” is being sought.  The program plays host to almost 3500 students each year but runs in the negative by $25,000/year as many students receive scholarships to attend.

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CALIFORNIA: Local group saves San Diego park

CALIFORNIA: Local group saves San Diego park | State parks | Scoop.it

-Sarah Grieco

It’s official: Palomar State Mountain Park will remain open despite facing a possible closure because of budget cuts.  Local group, the Friends of Palomar State Mountain Park, was the driving force behind the proposal to keep the park open through donations.  The Friends were able to raise $77,000 – enough to keep the park open for a year.

 

California Director of State Parks Ruth Coleman signed a proposal, which will allow the Palomar State Mountain Park to remain open as long as the Friends group can close the deficit between the park's revenue and expenses.  Now, the park will depend solely on donations.  While the group is happy to keep the Palomar State Mountain Park open, their job isn’t finished yet.

 

In order to reach $180,000 [to fund a full three years] they’re taking a three-pronged approach.  They’ll apply for grants, encourage professional partnerships and reach out to donors to earn enough to maintain a park staff...  In the past, the money collected from day use fees would go back to Sacramento and be redistributed to parks throughout the state.  But now, since Palomar State Mountain Park is donor-operated, all the proceeds will solely benefit this park.  This means the Friends can bring back some of the park aids that were let go in October, and any income gained can be used to restoring neglected areas.

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TEXAS: Bastrop State Park back in full-swing

TEXAS: Bastrop State Park back in full-swing | State parks | Scoop.it

Bastrop State Park visitors will soon find most facilities and all but a fraction of the Lost Pines parkland open to the public only seven months after a destructive wildfire burned 95 percent of the national landmark.  Reservations currently are being accepted for all four campgrounds and the 13 climate-controlled cabins, which are sporting new shingle roofs.  In addition, 80 percent of the park trails have been reopened.

 

The reopening of the almost 7,000-acre park comes just prior to Bastrop State Park’s 75th anniversary, April 21.  An official grand reopening and anniversary celebration will take place on Labor Day weekend, the one-year anniversary of the fire...  Since the September wildfire, Bastrop State Park has been struggling to keep up with removal of hazardous trees, cope with hillside erosion caused by higher-than-normal rainfall, rehabilitate campgrounds and come up with funds to address recovery and restoration efforts.  Donations from the public and private sectors are helping to address some of the financial shortfall...  $134,600 in donations had been received recently to benefit the restoration of Bastrop State Park.  Among other things, the money will be used to purchase a greenhouse and trail markers, and 20,000 pine seedlings for reforestation inside the park.

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CALIFORNIA: Cost to pack California state park artifacts will cut savings

CALIFORNIA: Cost to pack California state park artifacts will cut savings | State parks | Scoop.it

-Associated Press

Shuttering dozens of California state parks to trim millions from the state budget will take more than simply hanging a "Closed" sign on trailheads and beach parking lots.  Many on the closure list house thousands of historical treasures that must be packed up, catalogued and stored if deals are not reached to save them.  The tens of thousands of items on public display paint a rich portrait of California's past.  Among them are rare crystalline gold nuggets at the California Mining and Minerals Museum in Mariposa, painting masterworks showing early 20th century San Francisco street scenes and coastal landscapes at Shasta State Historical Park, and the writer Jack London's home and writing memorabilia in Sonoma County.

 

If the state does have to move thousands of delicate items, it does not currently know how much it will cost -- or how much of its projected $22 million in savings it will lose to pay for packing and long-term storage...  The minerals museum alone is home to more than 13,000 artifacts that would cost more than $100,000 to pack and ship to storage, [sector superintendent] Gresham said.  The Shasta historical park houses another 23,000 items, including more than 100 early 1900s urban and landscape paintings by famous California artists such as Jules Pages, Maynard Dixon and Thaddeus Welch...  Joss House State Historic Park, 6,780 individual Chinese artifacts and items will need to be packed and stored at the state's longest operating Taoist temple if an agreement with a nonprofit operator does not work out...  Weaverville, Shasta and the mining museum are just three of the nearly 25 parks on the closure list that contain a significant collection of historical artifacts, according to a review of park assets.

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NEW HAMPSHIRE: State park employees, police lack authority to ticket for rule violations

NEW HAMPSHIRE: State park employees, police lack authority to ticket for rule violations | State parks | Scoop.it

-Patrick Cronin

If you walk your dog on the beach, litter or break any state park rule at Hampton Beach, the chances you will receive a ticket and fine from a park employee, or even a police officer, are slim to none.  State parks employees and Hampton police still do not have authority to fine those suspected of violating state park rules.  A bill sponsored by then-state Rep. Nancy Stiles, R-Hampton, that was approved in 2010 aimed to fix that, but almost two years later it still has not been implemented.  State Division of Parks and Recreation officials are now working to implement the bill by developing rules and a fine structure that will need legislative approval.

 

To motivate local police departments to get involved, there is a clause in the bill that for every summons or ticket officers write, the town would retain 50 percent of any fine collected.  "State park employees can't issue fines because the department did not continue certification for their staff to have the ability," Stiles said, explaining why she added that component.  Stiles said turnover in the management of state parks is a key reason why the bill was never implemented.  Another is that the bill requested the Division of Parks and Recreation to develop rules and fines that would cover all its parks, not just Hampton Beach.

 

[Town Manager] Welch said police have authority to enforce the alcohol ban on the beach as that is a criminal matter and not an administrative one.  "Trash on the beach is a civil matter," he said.  Police Chief Jamie Sullivan said he would welcome additional authority to implement the state park rules...  "It would be helpful for us to potentially be able to utilize those rules and use it as an enforcement tool to keep the beach a cleaner and safer place."

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NEW YORK: New pay-and-park system at Saratoga Lake boat launch under scrutiny

NEW YORK: New pay-and-park system at Saratoga Lake boat launch under scrutiny | State parks | Scoop.it

-Paul Post

Local anglers aren’t hooked on the new automated pay-and-park system at the state boat launch at Saratoga Lake.  The machine went into operation April 2, freeing up manpower for other much-needed jobs in the state parks system, which has been plagued by shrinking budgets and payroll the past few years.

 

“What stops you from driving right around it?” said Mike Maynard from Colonie.  “I’d rather see a retiree or some kid there.  It puts people to work.”  Scofflaws could park their vehicle, fish for several hours and leave without paying, which isn’t fair to honest patrons who pay the $8-per-day fee, he said.  The machine only accepts exchange change — cash or coin — or credit cards.  People who put in a $10 or $20 bill must take their receipt to the Saratoga Spa State Park administration building, about seven miles away, to receive change.  With today’s gas prices and the time involved, some people might not bother.

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GEORGIA: Watson Mill to become a state park again

GEORGIA: Watson Mill to become a state park again | State parks | Scoop.it

-Erin France

In just a few short weeks, Watson Mill Bridge will once again become a state park, thanks to volunteers and local governments pitching in $30,000 of funding.  Officials with the state’s Department of Natural Resources downgraded Watson Mill from a state park to an outdoor recreation area last year as part of budget cuts across the state.  As an outdoor recreation area, Watson Mill lost two employees and the ability to make reservations — a key to attracting visitors and tourist dollars to the region, locals said.

 

Oglethorpe County commissioners agreed to give Madison County $5,000 to help fund the park, and Madison County commissioners will kick in another $21,700 to help DNR cover the costs of running the park.  Watson Mill’s Friends of the Park offered $3,300 to keep the large pavilion open for reservations for wedding receptions and reunions.

 

Since Watson Mill was downgraded to an outdoor recreation area, with fewer employees at the park, it does seem that there are more reports of crimes — like at the beginning of March when a thief tried to break into two collection boxes and then threw a picnic table into a river and tore soap dispensers off the wall in the men’s bathroom, [Madison County commission chairman] Dove said.

 

Madison County leaders are aiming to hire the two additional park employees and have everything set up to take reservations again starting May 1...  Dove’s glad that Watson Mill — recognized as a landmark and featured on state magazines — has the funding to continue as a state park this year, but wants to make sure that the Georgia General Assembly adds funding to the DNR for the park.

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CALIFORNIA: Bothe, Grist Mill parks under local control Sunday

CALIFORNIA: Bothe, Grist Mill parks under local control Sunday | State parks | Scoop.it

-Kerana Todorov

As volunteers wrap up the two-month fundraising campaign, the 1,900-acre Bothe-Napa Valley State Park and the Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park will be turned over Sunday to a new manager: the Napa County Regional Park and Open Space District...  State Parks signed documents giving the district authority to run the two parks.

 

As of Thursday, the campaign has raised more than $95,000 for the two parks...  The open space district plans to run the two parks with the Napa Valley State Parks Association on a $550,000 annual budget, including $100,000 from Napa Valley State Park’s running of Bale Grist Mill.  Revenues would include entry fees, campground fees and rental fees from a dozen yurts that are being installed this spring.  State-owned equipment is being removed from the park.

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NEW YORK: State expands no-smoking areas at parks

NEW YORK: State expands no-smoking areas at parks | State parks | Scoop.it

-Tom Precious

Smokers will have fewer places to light up in state parks and historical sites beginning this month, with the state designating more outdoor locations — including picnic spots and areas around playgrounds and pools — as tobacco-free zones.  Beyond outright bans at designated areas systemwide, such as nearby playgrounds, parks officials are installing no-smoking signs in places that vary by park but that include everything from food concession areas to gazebos to patios at the Top of the Falls restaurant in Niagara Falls State Park.  Officials, though, did not decide on a total smoking ban for all parks, except state parks located in New York City, which has enacted its own local tobacco ban for city-owned parks.  Peter J. Brancato, a spokesman for the parks agency, said smoking will still be permitted in places such as campgrounds and trails.

 

Most of the nation's smoking restrictions in parks have been done on the city, town or county level...  [However] in 2009, Maine banned smoking in common areas of state parks, similar to those announced by New York officials Monday.  And in February... the governor of Oklahoma signed an executive order banning smoking on all government properties inside and outside, including parks.

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ILLINOIS: Students to visit Illinois state parks for Earth Day hands-on experiences

-Associated Press

Hundreds of Illinois students will get a hands-on experience in state parks to mark Earth Day.  The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has planned events for students to teach environmental stewardship. Students will plant trees and native wildflowers, develop amphibian breeding pools and install fish attractors.  School groups were selected at random during an application process conducted earlier this year.

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OHIO: State agency proposes rules for drilling in state parks

A state natural resource agency's proposed rules for drilling in state parks would require natural gas and oil companies to stay at least 300 feet — the length of a football field — from campgrounds, certain waterways and sites deemed historically or archaeologically valuable.  Documents on proposed rules were released by the state Department of Natural Resources this week after the Ohio chapter of the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit claiming the agency ignored repeated requests by the group to review them.

 

Eastern Ohio is in the midst of a natural gas boom as developers seek to capture rights to Utica Shale deposits.  The state passed a law in September that opened its parks and other state-held lands for drilling, and officials have been developing leasing terms for drilling companies...  It's unclear whether the 300-foot buffer rule in Ohio will be applied above ground or below...  Jed Thorp, the Sierra Club's Ohio chapter manager, said the proposals are inadequate.  He said he's hopeful state lawmakers will eventually reverse the law.  "When people go to a state park, they don't want to see fracking, or hear fracking, or smell fracking," he said in a statement.  "They want to relax."

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NEW HAMPSHIRE: Winter surf at Jenness State Beach

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Winter surf at Jenness State Beach | State parks | Scoop.it

-Robert Eaton, New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation

 

Surfing doesn’t often come to mind when most everyone in New England is hunkered down in the middle of the winter season.  With New Hampshire boasting its 18 miles of coastline it’s an unlikely candidate for the sport, but when conditions are right the surf is phenomenal...  NH has a healthy year-round surfing community of all ages, who tolerate both the crowds in the summer and cold in the winter.  Ironically, summer isn’t known for its waves with winter storms being more ferocious and productive.

 

We got to Jenness State Beach mid-day, savoring the last of the heated car interior as we parked and suited up...  To those who call the north Atlantic home, it takes dedication to brave the elements for that one ride that keeps you jumping back into the frigid water.  We tolerate the unpleasant in exchange for a momentary clarity that makes all of it worth something.

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TENNESSEE: Teen drowns in Harrison Bay

A teen who drowned Saturday at Harrison Bay State Park has been identified as Collegedale Academy sophomore Chakamboka Chama...  Authorities said Saturday the 16-year-old was swimming with friends when he disappeared.  His body was found several hours later about 100 yards from shore

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CALIFORNIA: Slated for closure, Mission Santa Cruz to stay open under new deal

CALIFORNIA: Slated for closure, Mission Santa Cruz to stay open under new deal | State parks | Scoop.it

-Jason Hoppin

State and local officials announced a deal Saturday to keep the historic Mission Santa Cruz open for the next three years, saving the county's oldest building from becoming a casualty of the state budget...  The mission was rescued through the efforts of Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, which struck a deal with the state to fund ongoing operations.

 

[Secretary of Natural Resources] Laird applauded the landscaping and painting done at the mission by 100 volunteers on Saturday, which he said was key to saving the park...  The deal calls for the Friends to raise $45,000 each of the next three years to pay for ongoing operations at the Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park.  It already funds several aspects of the site, including a park interpreter, runs the park store and pays for materials used by schoolchildren during their visits.  "We're in the process of getting grants.  None of them have landed yet," [Friends executive director] Hawley said.

 

The mission was founded in 1791, the 12th of 21 Franciscan missions established in California.  The central adobe building was built between 1822 and 1824, and is the only structure remaining from Mission Santa Cruz...  For decades it served as the family home of the Rodriguez clan, which traced its roots to Santa Cruz' first Villa de Branciforte settlement.  In 1958, the last surviving heir of the clan, Cornelia Hopcroft, sold the building to the state in exchange for a life tenancy agreement.  Born in 1878 and adopted at the age of three by the Rodriguez' family, no one could have foreseen that Hopcroft would continue to occupy the mission for more than two decades: she died in 1983 at the age of 104.

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NEW YORK: Budget to fund overdue repairs at state parks

NEW YORK: Budget to fund overdue repairs at state parks | State parks | Scoop.it

-Adam Shanks

After cuts in recent years, the new state budget ensures parks will receive an $89 million increase in funding in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.  The additional money comes from the New York Works Fund, and brings total parks funding to $143 million.  Details of the New York Works projects were released last Wednesday.  The list of plans reads like repairs after a natural disaster, with the biggest chunks of funding going to projects like sewage repair and road resurfacing.

 

The investment is planned to help improve 48 state parks.  According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, 83 percent of the state's parks are in need of renovation...  The New York Works Fund provides a one-time shot in the arm to these parks for specific projects, and then funding will revert to base levels next year, unless the Legislature chooses otherwise.

 

Niagara Falls State Park is slated to receive the most funding of any project in the state, garnering $25 million to restore trails, viewing areas, bridges and everyone's favorite miniature hurricane, the Cave of the Winds...  Jones Beach State Park, a popular beach daycation getaway for Long Islanders, will receive $11.75 million to rebuild the West Bathhouse that has been notoriously in disrepair for years.  Nissequogue River State Park, also on Long Island, will get a funding boost for less encouraging reasons — to demolish vacant buildings...  The Hudson Valley will have access to almost one-third of the total increase in funding, claiming $34 million to aid 10 different state parks.

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MINNESOTA: State parks in prairie regions take precautions against fires

Due to the extended drought experienced in many prairie areas, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Parks and Trails Division is taking precautions to safeguard state park visitors.  The precautions include:

--Thirty- to 40-foot control lines that may have been mowed in prairie openings to aid firefighters should a wildfire threaten a park.

--Possible closing of certain prairie trails and restrict campfires on high fire danger/red flag days.  Presently, the dry fuels out in the open prairies pose a higher-than-normal risk to park visitors should a wildfire start.

 

Depending on vegetative conditions, the DNR Parks and Trails staff often conducts pre-burns in early spring around park high-use areas, including campgrounds and picnic areas, to provide for visitor safety...  When drought conditions in these areas lessen, area residents and park visitors may see park staff out conducting both safety burns and burns that are critical to maintain prairie and savannah communities in these areas.

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CALIFORNIA: Spring blooms in Anza-Borrego State Park

CALIFORNIA: Spring blooms in Anza-Borrego State Park | State parks | Scoop.it

-Priscilla Lister

Nothing seems more striking than the bright fuchsia-colored blooms of a beavertail cactus in spring at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.  They are among the largest blooms in the desert and shockingly pink...  In search of this year’s wildflowers, I went to Lizard Wash in very late March, and found a few of those beautiful beavertails — but only one in bloom with a few others promising to burst open within another month.

 

This year does not seem a banner year for desert wildflowers...  Still, if you look very closely, you will see a lot of detail.  That’s surely one of the amazing attractions of the desert — the landscape may appear monochromatically beige to many but if you are willing to examine it closely, the tiny blooms and the striated rocks make it far more interesting than at first blush.  Indeed, even though the blooms were tiny and sparse, I counted yellow desert dandelions, Parish’s gold poppy, yellow blooming barrel cactus, tiny blue chia, white desert chicory and desert pincushion, and even the blue berries of California juniper.

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MINNESOTA: Newest state park vision taking shape

MINNESOTA: Newest state park vision taking shape | State parks | Scoop.it

The vision for Minnesota’s newest state park is slowly coming into focus.  La Salle Lake State Recreation Area will tentatively open May 15 as a shoestring operation; grow onward and upward, state Department of Natural Resources officials hope.  They’ve embarked on a 20-year strategic plan.  The new park in northern Hubbard County will be a mix of rugged accommodations along with “high amenity facilities.”  The park currently has two year-round cabins, a sauna, swimming pool, laundry facility, kitchen and 40-site campground.  A wide diversity of programs is planned.  It will be managed as a satellite of Itasca State Park.  Primarily, it will remain pristine.

 

The Trust for Public Lands purchased the 990 acres in late 2010 on behalf of the Department of Natural Resources...  There may be some Indian burial grounds, some shards of pottery that may get their own moniker, and a famous Civil War veteran buried in the Bear Creek cemetery on the SRA.  Interpretive services are planned in the future to explain the value of the finds.  It’s also an area rich in biodiversity, with many one-of-a-kind native plants and rare endangered species growing and living there.  A fish survey has been completed for the 240-acre lake that is 213 feet deep.

 

A defunct resort has been the major water access point for years.  Some older locals recall fishing for lake trout in La Salle, but there are no plans to re-introduce the species...  The DNR has faced some criticism that it jumped into the acquisition too fast to assess if the agency is capable of managing another park, particularly one that failed under private development.

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WEST VIRGINIA: Governor signs bill funding Cacapon State Park expansion

WEST VIRGINIA: Governor signs bill funding Cacapon State Park expansion | State parks | Scoop.it

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin presided over a ceremonial signing of the senate bill that set up a $52.5 million, 30-year bond issue to be shared equally between Cacapon State Park and Beech Fork State Park in Wayne County on the other side of the state.  Cacapon State Park’s share will build an 80-room addition to the park’s existing 48-room main lodge.  It will add much-needed accommodations to support the park’s conference room and its capacity for 250 patrons, said Thomas D. Ambrose, the park’s superintendent...  Some of the money will pay for upgrades to the park’s infrastructure and its 18-hole golf course.  Golfers play an average of 20,000 rounds a year.

 

Bids on the bond issue won’t go out until next spring.  Construction won’t begin until the bonds are sold...  The bonds will be repaid at a rate of $3 million a year from slot machine revenue...  Cacapon State Park has always operated in the black, Ambrose said...  It is spread out over more than 6,000 acres, boasts 27 miles of hiking trails, 31 year-round cabins, a 12-room inn, a six-acre lake, picnic areas and a riding stable.

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MASSACHUSETTS: Ashland officials, state to talk about reopening park

MASSACHUSETTS: Ashland officials, state to talk about reopening park | State parks | Scoop.it

-Laura Krantz

Some residents want this to be the last summer that Ashland State Park goes unstaffed.  The 470-acre park that includes the Ashland Reservoir is technically not closed, but it has fallen into disrepair since the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s drastic budget cuts in 2009.

 

The board promised to meet with DCR in the next two weeks about potentially leasing the park from the state.  Their concerns include liability costs, which some say would be negligible, and the cost of staffing and repairs.  But even the most productive of negotiations won’t have the park open in time for summer, officials said.

 

State officials are open to the idea, but Open Space Committee Chairwoman Roberta Soolman said Wednesday night that residents need the support of town officials in order to get anywhere...  DCR leases about 1,000 of its properties, but agency spokeswoman S.J. Port said yesterday that she didn’t know of any state parks that have been leased.

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CALIFORNIA: State Parks annual pass cost to increase May 1

-Barbara Arrigoni

State Parks spokesman Roy Stearns said prices will go up on four of its annual passes beginning May 1.  The change affects the vehicle day-use annual passes, up by $70; Golden Poppy vehicle day-use passes, up by $35; boating stickers, up by $25; and limited-use Golden Bear passes (senior citizens), up by $10.  Day-use and camping fees will stay at the current rate in place since 2009.

 

"The increase will bring the price of the annual passes more in line with the standard of 12-15 visits to equal the cost of an annual pass," Stearns said.  The state budget is also a reason for the change...  It's not certain how much revenue the fee hike will generate on the short term, but State Parks estimated it will gain between $1 million and $1.5 million per year as visitors become accustomed to the new prices.

 

Whether the rise in annual pass fees will decrease users will depend on whether people want to get a pass or pay a day-use fee, Stearns said.  "Depending on how many times they go to the park, say if it's a boater or surfer, and they go more than 10 times a season, it's worth it," he said.  Stearns added that if people only use the parks three or four times a season, "they might decide on the daily pass...  We sell 66,000 of these passes per year."

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CALIFORNIA: Jack London ranch state park saved from closure

CALIFORNIA: Jack London ranch state park saved from closure | State parks | Scoop.it

-Peter Fimrite

The gorgeous rolling woodland ranch site that writer Jack London once called home was saved Tuesday from being shut down during the mass state park closures scheduled for this summer.  Jack London State Historic Park will instead be operated by the Valley of the Moon Natural History Association...  The park, which London called Beauty Ranch, was preserved as a memorial to the famous writer and adventurer.  He lived there from 1905 until his death in 1916.

 

The history association, which supports educational, volunteer and interpretive studies at Jack London, Sugarloaf Ridge and Annadel state parks, agreed to operate the park for at least 36 hours a week for five years beginning May 1.

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MASSACHUSETTS: DCR lays out new logging rules for state parks, forests

MASSACHUSETTS: DCR lays out new logging rules for state parks, forests | State parks | Scoop.it

-David Riley

The state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) this week laid out major new rules for logging and management of its parks and forests.  For the first time, the agency expressly barred commercial logging in most state parks east of Interstate 495.  The state also set aside several eastern Massachusetts forests as newly protected reserves, but named others where it will allow some timber harvesting.  Several Massachusetts conservation groups praised the changes, saying they bring new clarity to how conservation and recreation land can and should be used.

 

Until now, the state expressly barred logging in only nine forest reserves...  While DCR had a general approach for other types of property, management of individual parks or forests was often left to local site supervisors...  The new system divides more than 310,000 acres of DCR parks and forests into three designations: parkland, woodland or reserve.  Commercial logging is barred in parkland, where public recreation is the top priority.

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