Initiative Proposed to Heal Calif. Parks System
Editor’s Note: The following is an editorial from the San Francisco Gate outlining a new initiative from Parks Forward to resurrect the state’s trouble state park system.
Parks Forward – a blue-ribbon commission studying the troubled California State Parks system – is proposing a surprisingly bold vision for the future of parks in California: a brand-new privately and publicly funded organization to do what the state parks agency cannot do.
The Parks Forward commission evidently recognizes that the parks agency will have its hands full with the daunting internal reforms necessary to get its own house in order for years to come. And it will never have the capacity to take on the innovations necessary to bring California parks into the 21st century. The solution: create a new, more nimble, nonprofit parks support organization to work with the state parks agency, other local and regional parks agencies, nonprofits, businesses, and community groups to do what needs to be done.
It’s a simple, elegant and seemingly obvious solution that will, no doubt, require lengthy discussion and negotiation.
The commission is refreshingly frank in its assessment of the challenges ahead. “First, California’s parks system is debilitated by an outdated organizational structure, underinvestment in technology and business tools, and a culture that has not rewarded excellence, innovation and leadership. Second, only broad-based, fundamental change will transform the system into one that will transform parks and the parks experience to once again lead the nation and the world in meeting the needs of citizens and visitors for decades to come.”
The commission’s recommendations for internal reforms include upgrading the department’s information and technology infrastructure; budgeting, planning and accounting systems; and fee collections.
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