There may be a “silver lining” to the California state parks fund scandal, an advocate and fundraiser for the Palomar Mountain State Park said on Thursday (Aug. 23).
The North County Times reported that state lawmakers are considering using some of the $54 million in hidden state park funds uncovered last month to match private donations that flowed in for parks slated for closure last year, according to the advocate and a letter from the California State Parks Foundation.
The disclosure of the hidden park funds followed warnings from the state that 70 parks would be shuttered July 1 because of lack of money — a move that never took place.
The fund scandal led to the resignation of top parks officials last month.
“There could be a silver lining from all this,” said the advocate, Rick Barclay, chairman of the nonprofit Friends of Palomar Mountain State Park, referring to the possible use of some of the previously undisclosed money. “It’s good for Palomar.”
Barclay said lawmakers could approve Assembly Bill 1478 within the next week. If approved as written, that bill would designate $10 million for dollar-to-dollar matches for all contributions to parks that signed deals with the state for the 2012-13 fiscal year, according to the foundation’s letter.
Another $10 million would be directed to parks “that remain at risk of closure,” the letter said.