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Foundation Urges Gov. Brown to Investigate State Parks Department

California State Parks Foundation asks Gov. Brown and other lawmakers to investigate the reported irregularities at DPR, initiate an independent audit, and dedicate "found" funds to keeping state parks open.

Amid revelations that the California Department of Parks and Recreation, which oversees the state's parks, was allegedly operating with a $54-million surplus, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the parks urged Gov. Jerry Brown to investigate.

The California State Parks Foundation delivered a letter Wednesday urging the governor "to take swift action to achieve resolution to the irregularities being reported," according to a news release.

The letter was also delivered to President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Speaker of the Assembly John A. Pérez, said Jerry Emory of CSPF, in the news release.

"Speaking on behalf of park supporters statewide, CSPF voiced dismay that the recent news has undermined the urgency and necessity for citizen support for parks. CSPF offered a four-point framework for near-term proceedings and legislative action," Emory said.

The four points in the letter call for an independent audit, dedication of the money to state park purposes, use of the funds to specifically keep parks open, and establishment of a qualified, independent body to provide transparency and oversight for DPR, Emory said.

The letter, signed by CSPF President Elizabeth Goldstein, is attached to this article in PDF format.

"We at CSPF feel a commitment and duty to all park visitors to ensure that these scandals do not define our state park system,” said Goldstein in the letter. "You, as leaders of our state, have an obligation and an opportunity to restore confidence and rebuild this system for California."

The Sea and Desert Intepretive Association took over the visitor's center at the Salton Sea State Park and raised over $130,000 to keep the park from fully closing. The majority of the money was raised through pledged from local city governments and other agencies.  

The City of Palm Desert pledged $10,000 to the group. Councilmember Jean Benson told the Desert Sun "“if they have enough money now, then people should be able to get their money back, but I would leave that up to the park people.”

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