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State parks official expects Annadel to remain open

State Parks Department Director Ruth Coleman opens a workshop in Santa Rosa on Friday to talk about groups partnering with the state to operate parks. JEFF KAN LEE/PD

By DEREK MOORE
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

State Parks Director Ruth Coleman said Friday she expects to approve Sonoma County’s bid to take over operations at Annadel State Park and spare the popular Santa Rosa park from closure this summer.

“I expect it to eventually work out,” she said.

Should that happen, people who now use the 5,000-acre park without paying fees may be in for a surprise.

As part of its proposal to run the park, the county plans to install a day-use parking area on Channel Drive to prevent people from parking outside the gates and walking or biking in for free.

“They need to pay to use the park,” said Caryl Hart, the county’s regional parks director.

Coleman and Hart were among the attendees at a workshop in Santa Rosa for nonprofit groups to learn how to submit proposals to run state parks that are set to close July 1.

The state originally announced plans to shut 70 of California’s 278 parks to achieve $22 million in savings sought by Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers. The state since has found operators for nine of those parks to keep them running and is searching for more to prevent additional closures, Coleman said.

Sixteen North Coast parks remain on the closure list.

Hart said she’s received approval from the Sonoma County Water Agency to install the day-use parking lot on Channel Drive. The county Board of Supervisors also will weigh in on the plans.

Hart said she doesn’t anticipate controversy over the parking issue despite past protests over similar plans to charge for parking, including at beaches along the coast.

Hart said the parking fee at Annadel likely would be $7, which is what the county charges at other regional parks. Annual parking passes probably will be offered, she said.

The renewed attention to parking fees and Friday’s workshop reflect a budget-driven approach that state parks must be more self-sufficient amid a lingering downturn in the economy.

Coleman also suggested the state parks system is suffering the results of decades of neglect. As an example, she said the system receives about 29 percent of its funding from the general fund, down from about 90 percent in the 1970s during Brown’s first term in office.

Coleman has faced criticism for her handling of the current budget crisis, including accusations that she and her staff have not been forthcoming in how they selected parks for closure.

Coleman countered that Friday, saying “everything we do is in the public domain,” and cited the workshop held at the Church of One Tree in Santa Rosa.

The state’s ability to seek partnerships with nonprofits is the result of legislation authored by Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, who has been one of Coleman’s most vociferous critics.

Friday’s event, which attracted about 50 people, was the third in a series of workshops that state parks officials are conducting statewide for nonprofits interested in operating a park.

The attendees included Philip Sales, chairman of a group that is seeking to keep Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park off the permanent closure list. The park currently is closed, except for in limited situations.

Sales said the group has raised $70,000, half from an anonymous donor, that it hopes will be enough to keep the park open for an additional year past the July deadline.

Sales, a former county parks planner, said the group also hopes to submit a formal proposal to operate the Petaluma park.

Also in attendance was Michael Han with the California Parks Co., which operates concessions in several state parks.

Han said the company is considering submitting bids to operate in one or all of several North Coast parks that the state is bundling to make them more financially attractive to potential operators.

One group includes Austin Creek State Recreation Area in Guerneville, Russian Gulch State Park in Mendocino, Hendy Woods State Park in Boonville, Westport Union Landing State Beach in Fort Bragg and Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area in Leggett.

“We bring so much to the table that nonprofits may not be able to provide,” Han said.

Critics of the bidding process say it puts nonprofits at a competitive disadvantage and risks turning public spaces into corporate mills.

The state estimates the bundled North Coast group and another in the Central Valley have combined annual revenues of more than $500,000.

Coleman said she hopes the process will lead to alliances that play to the “individual strengths” of the organizations that are seeking an expanded role in the parks.





9 Responses to “State parks official expects Annadel to remain open”

  1. That guy from Kenwood says:

    Your preference then is to have all our local state parks close. That way no one can use them. That’s quite a goal. The non-profits you disparage are normal people like you and me (oops, not you). I know them personally – like the Sonoma Ecology Center or the Valley of the Moon Natural History Association – and they don’t know ICLE from SCHMICLE. Take a deep breath guys and don’t assume that everyone is against you. But, of course, you wouldn’t get the attention you crave. I don’t disagree that belonging to groups like ICLE is a waste of money, but to assume that it’s a big conspiracy is way paranoid. But, if you want to spend your day looking at shadows, more power to you.

  2. Jim Bennett says:

    Steveguy; as I’m sure you know, there’s even degrees in ‘sustainability’ now.
    They hijack such great words; who could be against sustainable?

    How ironic that the main thing not sustainable is us!

    As much of a pain in the butt broken record I am on here, I HOLD BACK!

    We haven’t even talked about the population reduction component of Agenda 21!

    Who knows how much heat one could get talking about that?
    Most of the ridicule is from Lisa Maldonodo, and her 4 computers and many ‘names’.
    I know we’re doing the right thing.
    Once you study this crap for a while, it’s unbelievable, it’s like everything wrong with our society is associated with 300-400 core globalist gangsters.
    Maurice Strong, the central figure in what became Agenda 21, complicit in contriving ‘global warming’, the
    ‘carbon credit’ commodity scheme is in exile in communist China for his role in the ’05 UN Oil for Food scandal.

    Not even 1%.

    Wonder what our world would be like without these people?
    A LOT better in EVERY way.

    Persuant to The Agenda to which our County is adherant, our BOS is probably going to approve adding sodium Fluoride to our water Tues. a.m., just like Hitler did. Here’s a quick summation of this poison;
    http://www.greaterthings.com/Lexicon/F/Fluoride.htm

    ‘All truth passes thru three stages;
    first, it is ridiculed.
    Second it is violently opposed.
    Third, it ia accepted as self evident.’

    To my mind, when we examine the anti-intuitive sabotage our ‘public servants’ engage in…
    it’s pretty self evident.

  3. Steveguy says:

    @ Jim Bennett, I too would like to be the guy from Kenwood ( though my sons lived there for years, so I almost qualify) I too would like to be the guy that lives in the Dry Creek Valley ( did that for years) I too would like to be the guy that lives in the Redwoods ( have friends and customers that do) . Yet alone the fantastic places out Mark West Springs Road.

    I know and have worked for and with recipients of Open Space Funds. What a scam that is. Pay millionaires millions for what ? 2 less ranch houses, that is usually what. The Administrators all make over $100K a year to pay those millions to millionaires. We pay the tax for it.

    And property rights eroded more and more.

    I even know in-holders at Armstrong Woods and up Austin Creek way. Very remote country folks at risk from society and it’s new regulations. They have taken care of the land for sometimes over 100 years, but one graduate student ‘scientist’ that visits for a week knows all in our current twisted thinking and policies. Agenda 21 thinking and policies, word for word. Read it like I have folks.

  4. Money Grubber says:

    SteveGuy:

    They do treat us as pawns.

    But I would suggest a more accurate descriptive word.

    The government treats us as SLAVES.

    YOU work for your money. They steal it. Taxes are all about keeping an excessive army of public employees on the job.

    Always be alert when you hear the usual chant by public employees that they provide “services” because they use that term as a smoke screen for waste of OUR money. Demand to know which “services” are involved and then look closely at the actual need and amount spent on that so called “service.”

  5. @Kenwood, I had to laugh at your uninformed comments. Turning public parks into privately controlled enterprises will mean that less people (unless they pay) will be using our parks. That fits in quite nicely with UN Agenda 21 Sustainable Development. ICLEI lobbies our government on all levels to implement the UN plan that seeks to clear the population from rural lands and get them to move into high-density urban areas. What better way to reduce access to parks and open space than to make them private. They want to charge $7 just to park near the parks entrance. What will that do?

    Agenda 21 says it is about helping the poor. In fact, that is one of their smokescreens and excuses for what they are really doing. Our federal government through the EPA is giving money to non-profits that are affilliated with the United Nations (NGOs). We’re talking many millions of our tax dollars a year. These groups are working to implement the UN Sustainable Development plan. “Strengthening Major Groups” is a UN Ageneda 21 goal. The poor are not helped.

    Our greatly increasing poor population will be excluded from use of our formerly public parks because they won’t be able to pay to get in. In fact, implementing UN Agenda 21 does just the opposite of what they say it does. They were supposed to reduce the number of poor people but what has happened in the 20 years they have been working on the plan in the United States? There are many more poor people.

    So, when you visit the remaining parks and are getting your wallet out, think about whether everyone that wants to come there will be able to pay the price. I suspect that you have enough money to pay so you see nothing wrong with it. The hypocrisy of the folks in these non-profit groups that get free money from our government is appalling. Non-profits are largely unaccountable to the public. That’s why our sneaky government officials want to partner with them, to hide what they are doing. Look at the results and then you will know the motives of those in control. Get your head out of the sand.

  6. Jim Bennett says:

    I thought that color coded map was pretty easy to understand.

    An erormous transfer of OUR open space land is occuring right now. Sometimes to environmental NGOs, ‘land trusts’, and ‘privatized’.

    In my view, this is just propaganda/indoctrination to soften us up to the notion that our open space access is in question. Incrementalism.

    It’s happening all over the U.S..

    You shouldn’t have a thing with me, I just want you to be that guy from Kenwood.
    I wanna be the guy from Mark West Creek.

    I didn’t move from the beach to Sonoma Co. to live in a ‘transit village’, did you?

    The manipulation of land use IS Agenda 21.
    Do some homework on it, then you’ll know who to have a ‘thing’ with.

    Here’s an explanation from someone smarter than me.
    Check the whole site.

    http://www.freedomadvocates.org/video/watch/31_taking_liberty_wildlands_project/

  7. That guy from Kenwood says:

    Hey, ICLEI Jim. I thought ICLEI was all about the nefarious encroaching powers of local/state government. In the case of Jack London and Sugarloaf, for example, non-governmental non-profit groups are negotiating to take over park operations. How does this fit in your ICLEI/Agenda 21 model? As for Annadel, Sonoma County Regional Parks is looking to run this particular state park (and is getting help from monetary contributions from people like you and me – well, maybe not you). Why? So they can keep it open to the public for use by the public. The whole point of this Wildland Project you speak of, as I understand it, is to create a situation that wouldn’t allow humans into parks/open space/wildlands, etc. This, of course, is the exact opposite result of what is going on here.
    Maybe you’re mixing up your conspiracies. I know they’re hard to keep track of.
    Anyway, I look forward to one of your rambling, incoherent responses.

  8. Jim Bennett says:

    Privatizing utilities and parks is part of the ICLEI model…
    and we don’t even get a kiss first.

    This is about many things, being strait with the citizens isn’t one of them.

    Search the Wildlands Project to get the whole tyranical idea.

  9. Steveguy says:

    This is a sham and a scam. The Parks Budget is a MINOR item. They expect to ‘save’ $22 Million by closing around 70 or more parks.

    That is chump change compared to what they WASTE every day. Besides the extraneous tax revenue paid by those that use the parks. Closing the parks may actually cost us more than keeping them open, and they are a needed amenity in our society.

    They treat us like pawns, and I guess that most of us are. Oh my

    ( Then the gall to put up more Iron Rangers. I predict 1,000 No Parking signs soon around Annadel. )