State funding for Lake Clementine, park rangers, infrastructure could be affected

By: Chelsea Foster Special to the Journal
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It is unknown how Auburn State Recreation Area would be affected by the passage or failure of Proposition 21. According to Auburn SRA superintendent Mike Lynch, the Auburn SRA is funded primarily by the Bureau of Reclamation, with secondary funding from the state. Budget cuts have already made it necessary to close areas that would normally be open, including lower Lake Clementine (closed Nov. 1 to March 1) and Driver’s Flat/Ruck-a-Chucky campground (closed Nov. 1 until weather permits). “It is unknown if there will be enough funding to keep the parks open at all. Funding from (the Bureau of) Reclamation is in great peril for next year, so we’re currently exploring ways to try to keep the parks running,” Lynch said. According to Lynch, funds from Prop. 21’s trust would be used to replace the lost day-use revenue for Auburn parks which would occur with visitors using their access passes instead of paying day-use fees. Funding beyond simple dollar-for-dollar replacement for the lost revenue is not specifically allocated. “Beyond the replaced revenue from day-use, it is yet to be seen how it will apply here in Auburn. But since the trust funds would be available for all state parks, the state would potentially be able to provide additional funding. No one knows what it will look like yet,” Lynch said. ----------------------------------- Proposition 21: California State Parks Initiative What: An $18 fee added to motor vehicle registration fees will be collected yearly and pooled into a trust fund for state parks, replacing the general state funds that would be allocated to fund the parks. A current California vehicle registration will serve as a State Park Access Pass, waiving the day-use entry fees into any state park. Who: All California citizens who register motor vehicles. One $18 fee per registered motor vehicle, excluding semi-trucks and commercial vehicles or trailers subject to sections 4000.6, 5014.1 or 635 of the Vehicle Code. When: On or after Jan. 1, 2011 if the initiative is passed in the November general election.