California considers handing over state parks to cities

April 26, 2011 7:49:19 PM PDT
California's budget crisis may force the closure of dozens of state parks, but a bill working its way through the legislature would give cities and counties the chance to operate them instead.

One study put spending linked to state park visits at almost $7 billion a year. And one state senator says even though most communities and counties face huge budget deficits of their own, keeping parks that are popular with tourists open could be profitable.

"Especially if those tourists are providing tax dollars or TOT revenues due to their staying overnight in hotels, so there's actually in some cases a better financial value to a local community, a city, a county, than to the state," said St. Sen. Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo.

The state is also considering leasing parks to private operators.