Make California State Parks Into Off-Road Dirt Tracks, Says OHV Lobby
Even though California is home to some of the richest companies in the world (Google, Apple, HP, Facebook, Wells Fargo, Disney, etc. ) and many of theworld's richest people (Steve Jobs, George Lucas, Mark Zuckerberg, the Getty family, Larry Ellison, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, the Hearst family, Charles Schwab, etc.) for some reason the state can't seem to do much in the way of collecting enough tax money to run things. And that's why the state park system, a state park system that is the envy of most entire nations, is out of cash and doing incredibly dumb and desperate things to make up for a $22 million budget cut. (That's a whopping 59 cents per California resident, by the way.) So people are coming up with ideas! Ideas like, "Let's turn over the state's wilderness parks to off-road motorcyclists and quads and other exhaust-belching land-raping cretin machines."
Yubanet posts this horrifyingly headlined article, Off-Roaders Seek Takeover of California Parks:
Grasping to recoup a $10 million cut in the California Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) budget, off-road lobbyists are urging compensation via a takeover of state park units. The idea, seconded by some state officials, surfaced at an "emergency" March OHV Commission meeting but was not published until posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
One of the state parks specifically targeted is Henry Coe, the largest state park in Northern California. The 87,000-acre park in Morgan Hill (near San Jose) provides a major outlet for hiking, fishing and other outdoor activities. The park does not allow motorized recreation.
"We should not take these threats lightly. For some reason, the off-roaders seem to have a lot of traction with State Parks Director Ruth Coleman," warned California PEER Director Karen Schambach, noting that Coleman is a holdover Schwarzenegger appointee. "Look what she has allowed them to get away with in Red Rock Canyon State Park."
(What has happened in Red Rock Canyon State Park, a stunning arid wilderness at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains that has long been loved by family campers and used as a living geology lab by the state's college students, is that off-road vehicles are now tearing the hell out of the place.)
With 70 of California's 278 state parks up for closure during this current make-believe budget crisis, the fear is that many of these natural areas will become prey to the industrial-criminal marijuana farmers, timber harvesters and animal poachers -- or just be trashed by people who see a forest and think, "That's a great place to dump this couch and these 300 cans of half-used paint." But the OHV proposal would be actual state-sanctioned destruction of the last places in our society set aside for quiet, non-motorized use by human beings. Welcome to Sarah Palin's America! It's going to get a lot worse. [PEER]