A new study has found that California’s state parks system is top-heavy and has been slow to seize on moneymaking opportunities that could help it recover from deep fiscal wounds, some of which were self-inflicted.
U-T San Diego reported that the independent review also unearthed erratic and antiquated accounting systems, over-reliance on a few parks to generate the most income, an inability to cash in on concession contracts and a slothlike approach to attracting more users, especially to waterfront parks.
The findings by FTI Consulting highlight many of the challenges for the state Department of Parks and Recreation as it struggles to move beyond financial scandal and restore public trust.
The 180-page financial assessment also notes familiar problems that have long plagued parks: stagnant state revenues, a staggering list of unfunded repairs and renovations, and state bond accounts that are about to run dry.
Parks Director Anthony Jackson, a retired Marine major general from Fallbrook who was tapped by Gov. Jerry Brown to turn the troubled department around 13 months ago, said there is little in the report to disagree with.
The department has launched a number of new initiatives, such as pushing to add more camping at popular parks to generate income, working with major retailers to sell park passes, concentrating improvements at popular waterfront parks, modernizing fee collections, adopting a priority list for maintenance and building projects, and imposing more internal accounting controls, Jackson said.
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