Published March 26, 2013
California lawmakers should outsource management of some state parks to cope with chronic under funding, advised an influential state commission, which found that the state had expanded its park system without providing adequate income to support it.
The Little Hoover Commission, in a report released Monday, asked Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders to help the state Department of Parks and Recreation restructure the way it manages its 280 parks to avoid the kind of fiscal crisis that led to plans to close 70 parks in 2012 before last-minute maneuvers spared them.
Parks that mostly serve local visitors "should be realigned" to allow local control, while some with broader appeal could be managed differently, said the commission, whose reports are often considered by lawmakers.
The famed Hearst Castle, for example, may be better maintained by an outside operator such as the Getty Museum, the report suggested. The 115-room mansion of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst became state park property in 1958. Like many state park sites, it suffers from deferred maintenance because of decadeslong funding cuts, the report said.