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State Park Volunteer Panel Formed

Sacramento, CA — A collaborative initiative called “Parks Forward” will begin an evaluation to improve and sustain California’s State Parks System. California Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird and California State Parks Director Major General Anthony L. Jackson, USMC (Ret.) unveiled the plan.

Secretary Laird says, “California’s State Parks will once again flourish and serve as prized destinations across our cities, mountains, valleys and coastlines.”

A volunteer panel, known as the Parks Forward Commission, will lead the new Parks Forward initiative, designed to implement the directives of the California State Parks Stewardship Act of 2012 and to revive and improve California’s State Parks.

Recommendations come from a report titled “Beyond Crisis: Recapturing Excellence in California’s State Park System” released in March 2013. For more about the report view “Revitalizing The State Parks Department”

The recommendations including realigning some parks to local control apply to the three Mother Lode area state parks: Railtown 1897, Calaveras Big Trees and Columbia State Historic Park.

Director Jackson says, “We are fully aware the eyes of Californians are on us, and I am committed to making this initiative open and transparent, and one that yields achievable results.”

The Parks Forward initiative will be supported by significant charitable funding, public agency commitments, the nonprofit community and other stakeholders. The Commission is expected to present its final findings and recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature in fall 2014.