Federal funding issue could spare Annadel

  • Olivia Weintraub and Jason Wolridge hike Rogh-Go trail at Annadel State Park, Tuesday April 5, 2011. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

Annadel State Park in Santa Rosa is one of 16 state parks that may earn a reprieve from Gov. Jerry Brown's list of proposed closures because they receive more than $287 million in federal money.

Annadel is the only one of Sonoma County's five state parks that could be spared from the closure list announced last month as part of Brown's plan to balance the state budget, state parks spokesman Roy Stearns said Tuesday.

Three Mendocino County parks — Manchester State Beach, Russian Gulch State Park and Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area — also could be exempted from the closure list.

"We don't know exactly how this will play out with all the factors involved," Stearns said.

But State Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, hailed the possibility of saving Annadel and other parks as "potentially great news."

"Closing them would simply violate federal law," Evans said in a statement. "I will urge the state Parks Department to reconsider and alter their park closure proposal to take this and other information into account."

Federal parks officials say that California's use of money from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund for certain parks amounts to a commitment to keep them open in perpetuity.

To shut down such a park would be "essentially a breach of that contract," National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis told the San Jose Mercury News.

State officials were aware of the federal funding issue when they prepared the list of 70 of California's 278 state parks to be closed, with an anticipated savings of $11 million in the upcoming fiscal year beginning in July and $22 million in each succeeding year, Stearns said.

"We fully anticipated that it would come up," Stearns said, describing the National Park Service as "a good partner for us."

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