NEVADA COUNTY, Calif. — The list of 70 state parks to be shuttered has shrunk to 61, according to officials, and regional advocates would like to see it shrink by two more in the near future.
Each member of the Nevada County Board of Supervisors and the councils of Grass Valley, Nevada City and Truckee have signed a statement opposing the closure of South Yuba River and Malakoff Diggins state parks, which were on the original California State Parks closure list in May 2011.
“All of the state parks in our region are critical to our economy and to our quality of life. This is something that cannot be over-emphasized,” reads the joint statement. “Abandoning these invaluable assets and leaving them effectively unprotected — as the State is currently planning to do — is, in a word, unconscionable.”
Nevada City Councilman Robert Bergman plans to deliver the unified memorandum bearing the 20 signatures Wednesday to Gov. Jerry Brown, State Sens. Doug LaMalfa and Ted Gaines, State Rep. Dan Logue and California State Parks and Natural Resources officials.
The signatures come from the elected officials as individuals, as their various governing bodies have also passed respective resolutions opposing the parks closures, Bergman said.
“You have 20 elected officials of different persuasions and political agendas all coming together on one piece of paper,” Bergman said. “I hope that it’s heard as a common voice from the 20 officials joined together.”
South Yuba River and Malakoff Diggins are essential components of Nevada County’s well-being on all levels, the document proclaims. The 20 representatives pledge to collaborate with all interested parties on workable solutions that will prevent the parks from closing.
Further, dozens of supporters plan to travel to Sacramento Wednesday to hand deliver more than 10,000 signatures on a petition opposing the two parks’ closure.
Since the May 2011 list was released, the parks department has pulled nine parks off the list, said Roy Stearns, deputy director of communications for the parks department.
Regional officials are hoping that new initiatives, combined with widespread support, are enough to add Malakoff and South Yuba to the list.
For example, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors last week unanimously approved a letter to State Parks officials supporting the department’s plan to start charging for parking at Bridgeport — a highlight of the South Yuba River — to generate revenue for the popular park.
Park officials indicated receptivity to the proposal.
“I believe this makes the running of the park more sustainable,” California State Parks District Superintendent Matt Green said of the plan. “We needed to find some way to extend our fee base to pay for the high cost of staffing.”