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Santa Monica Senator Proposes Bill to Enhance State Park Maintenance Funding

Santa Monica State Senator Ben Allen has introduced a bill that will benefit the outdoor recreation industry. Named SB 1332, the legislation aims to establish the Conservation Stewardship Fund, designed to allocate essential operations and maintenance funding sourced from both public and private sectors.

According to a Santa Monica Lookout report, the bill’s introduction comes as a response to the growing need for sustained investment in the maintenance and protection of state parks, which Senator Allen describes as “our state’s most precious natural treasures.” This legislation seeks not only to conserve these lands but also to ensure they can continue to be enjoyed by the public in perpetuity.

The Conservation Stewardship Fund will support lands managed by the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Wildlife Conservation Board, and various state conservancies. This initiative reflects a holistic approach to land management, recognizing the integral role of maintenance in the conservation process.

Senator Allen’s proposal is particularly timely, aligning with the ambitious environmental goals set forth by the California 30×30 initiative. This initiative, endorsed by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2020, commits to conserving 30 percent of the state’s lands and coastal waters by 2030. The detailed strategies for achieving these targets were laid out in a plan by the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) in 2022.

However, a significant challenge to these conservation efforts is the limitation on the use of general obligation bond funding, which is currently restricted to land acquisition and protection. This restriction leaves a funding gap for crucial stewardship and management activities, a gap that SB 1332 aims to fill. The Department of State Parks and Recreation is currently facing a deferred maintenance backlog of over $1 billion, highlighting the urgent need for the proposed fund.

The Nature Conservancy has come forward in support of the legislation, recognizing its potential to safeguard California’s investments in parks and open spaces. 

According to Liz Forsburg Pardi, the Conservancy’s director of external affairs and policy, the fund will also contribute to increasing the resilience of these areas to climate change, thereby supporting the state’s broader climate, biodiversity, and outdoor access goals.

For campground and outdoor hospitality operators, the implications of this bill are significant. Enhanced maintenance and preservation efforts will likely lead to improved visitor experiences, potentially driving increased visitation and revenue for nearby campgrounds and hospitality services. Moreover, the emphasis on climate resilience and biodiversity can enrich the natural landscapes that these businesses rely upon, offering guests a more diverse and sustainable outdoor experience.

The introduction of SB 1332 by Senator Allen marks a pivotal moment in the stewardship of California’s state parks. By addressing the critical need for maintenance and preservation funding, this legislation promises to safeguard the state’s natural treasures for future generations.

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Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: Santa Monica Senator Proposes Bill to Enhance State Park Maintenance Funding! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/usa/california/santa-monica-senator-proposes-bill-to-enhance-state-park-maintenance-funding/