Davis to cut state park fees in half


Hoping to lure more visitors to state parks and museums, Gov. Gray Davis announced Monday a plan to cut state park fees in half beginning July 1.

Day use will now be $2-$3, instead of $5-$6. Overnight camping fees will now be $12, instead of ranging from $24-$37, depending on various add-ons (weekends, premium site, etc.).

Entry to most museums and historic sites will cost as little as $1, and children younger than 16 will be admitted free to all museums.

Speaking to a crowd of officials in Tapia State Park off Malibu Canyon Road on the first day of State Parks Month, Davis said he wanted to make California parks among the most affordable and accessible in the nation.

“We created the park system in 1864 for all Californians, and now I want to make sure our parks are accessible to all Californians,” Davis said. “Fees have doubled or tripled in the last decade and families have been priced out of state parks. I’m glad we have this opportunity to offer middle-class tax relief.”

State Parks Director Rusty Areias told The Malibu Times steps will be taken to prevent visitors from “loving our parks to death.” The governor’s proposal calls for an increased parks budget to deal with the need for more rangers, lifeguards, maintenance workers, volunteer and docent programs “to ensure that increased attendance will not endanger natural and cultural resources.”

The fee reductions will be implemented in two phases beginning July 1, when day use fees will be cut at most state parks, museums and historic sites. Reduced fees for Hearst Castle begin Aug. 1.

In January 2001, camping fees will be reduced and premium charges will be eliminated, day use fees will be reduced at urban beaches, and boating fees will be eliminated.

Local activist Bob Purvey of the Surfrider Foundation used a question period to ask Davis if he could do anything to stop development in Malibu’s Civic Center. Davis referred him to state Resources Secretary Mary Nichols.

To get a jump on reservations at the lower rates, call Reserve America at 800.444 PARK.