Wednesday, March 10, 2010

California State Parks Initiative - $18 Dollar/Yr. Vehicle Lic. Fee

Over the next few days and weeks, The Recreation HQ will highlight some important issues as they relate to California State Parks. As you know, The General has an old saying that ALL land-use decisions are political decisions.

One of those political decisions you will have to make this year is regarding the California State Parks Initiative. It is currently gathering signatures (and supporters) so it can be placed on the November 2 ballot.

This Initiative is designed to create a dedicated park fund that will generate $500 million dollars a year by placing an $18 dollar/yr. fee on street licensed cars, trucks (not big rigs), motorcycles, and RVs. As a reward for your payment, your vehicle and its passengers will get FREE admission for day-use into all state park units including SVRAs and State Recreation Areas.

Info on the California State Parks Initiative

List of State Park Units covered by the Initiative

Article with concerns about Initiative from a recreation/conservation perspective

Another plan to fund state parks is on the table and it proposes to generate monies for state parks by doing some environmentally-friendly oil drilling off the coast of California. Just recently the non-partisan budget analyst issued a report that shows this concept has merit.

See article on oil drilling plan

Voters will have to decide which of the above concepts merit support. I have heard from some off-roaders who think the Initiative is a good deal since the increased license fee would be offset by free entrance into the state park. Some conservative legislators may support this plan since it proposes to spend about $180 million/yr. for construction and repair projects to address an estimated $1.5 billion dollar maintenance backlog.

Fiscal conservatives or people who are fed up with bloated government may support the oil drilling plan or just say that parks has to become more relevant to Californians and be self-sustaining/user-funded on its own such as OHMVR and Boating and Waterways.

This is sure to be a hot topic of discussion at The Recreation HQ and by riders sitting around a campfire this spring. The General urges you to review these issues and asks that you feel free to post a comment or send a private message to HQ with your views.

Thanks for your service!

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