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State parks official expects Annadel to remain open

  • California State Parks held a workshop at the Church of One Tree in Santa Rosa to talk about groups partnering with the state to operate parks, February 24, 2012. Parks Department Director Ruth Coleman opens the meeting.

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

"I expect it to eventually work out," Coleman said.

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

Annadel State Park At 40

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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, Sonoma County's regional parks director.

Coleman and Hart were among the attendees at Friday's workshop in Santa Rosa for operators of non-profit groups to learn how to submit proposals to run state parks that are set to close July 1.

State parks originally announced plans to shut down 70 of California's 278 parks to achieve $22 million in budget savings sought by Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers. The state has since found operators for nine of those parks to keep them running past the July deadline, and is searching for more partners 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 should the county succeed in its bid to take over operations at Annadel. County supervisors also will weigh in on the plans.

Hart said she doesn't anticipate controversy over the parking issue, despite protests that have erupted in the past over similar plans to charge for parking, including at beaches along the Sonoma County coast.


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