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July 18, 2007

For More Information, Contact:
Paige Schoknecht at (650) 688-6384


PALO ALTO – State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) announced today that he plans a series of visits to California State Parks in his district “to see firsthand the impact of budget cuts on our state parks.”  This weekend Simitian will tour Castle Rock State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains, where he will meet with a Park Ranger to discuss the state’s limited funding for parks and the impact on staffing, maintenance, and other needs.  After the briefing, Simitian will spend the afternoon hiking in Castle Rock State Park.

Simitian plans to visit state parks in each of the three counties in his district, which includes portions of San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties.  In the coming weeks, Simitian will also be visiting Wilder Ranch State Park in Santa Cruz County and Portola Redwoods State Park in San Mateo County for similar briefings and hikes.

Castle Rock State Park in Santa Cruz County features forests of redwoods, Douglas firs, and madrones, as well as canyons and rock formations popular with rock climbers.  Thirty-two miles of hiking and horse trails link Castle Rock to neighboring Big Basin Redwoods State Park and the Pacific Coast.

“I have great memories of rock climbing at Castle Rock as a teenager,” said Simitian, “and I look forward to getting out of the Capitol.  Besides, I need the exercise.”

The 2006-7 budget included $603 million for California’s parks, but the Administration’s 2007-8 proposed budget this year provides only $422 million, a 30% decrease in funding.  “Year after year,” said Simitian, “our State Parks have borne the brunt of our struggle to balance the state budget.  This longstanding neglect of state parklands has gotten to the point where we have a billion dollar backlog of maintenance and repair.”

“The annual cost to maintain the system is about $185 million a year,” said Simitian, “but the state budgets just $67 million a year, which means that with every passing year the problem gets more than $100 million worse.  Worse still, the State’s failure to reverse this trend means the situation deteriorates.  Small problems become big problems – with price tags to match – adding even more to the billion dollar backlog.”

Simitian will meet with a Park Ranger at 1:00 pm on Sunday, July 22.  The main entrance to the park is located on the west side of Hwy. 35 in Santa Cruz County, 2.5 miles south of the junction with Hwy. 9 (Saratoga Gap).  Parking is $6.

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