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California park passes at libraries could be canceled due to state budget cuts

Popular feature at California public libraries could be canceled due to state budget
Popular feature at California public libraries could be canceled due to state budget 02:06

SACRAMENTO - There's concern that a popular feature at libraries across California could be canceled due to state budget cuts. 

Park passes give people a free ticket to some of the most popular outdoor spots in the state and have become one of the most in-demand items to check out.

"It has a bar code like it would with any book," said Todd Deck, with the Sacramento Public Library. 

Deck said the state park passes were checked out more than 6,500 times last year.

"I would consider it popularity-wise on par with a James Patterson, I mean people love it," Deck said.

The passes are good for three weeks and allow people free entry and parking at more than 200 California State Parks.
It can save people $12 a day at places like Folsom Lake or $195 a year to purchase an annual state park pass.

"Having access to this incredible state park system that we have in California is really an essential service," said Rachel Norton, executive director for the California State Parks Foundation. 

But now California is facing a $68 billion deficit and this popular program may be on the state budget chopping block.

"We are concerned that there is not funding in the current budget proposal," Norton said. 

Norton said money to continue the library pass program was not included in the budget unveiled by Gov. Gavin Newsom last week.
Her organization is now launching outreach efforts to get the money restored.

"There's a petition that you can sign right now today to tell the governor and legislative leadership that this program means a great deal and that you want the funding to continue," Norton said.

Park advocates say it's important for everyone to have access to outdoor recreation opportunities, regardless of the cost.

"Every statistic shows you communities are happier and healthier if they're actively using the natural world," Deck said. 

CBS13 reached out to the governor's office this afternoon for comment but has not yet heard back from them.

A park pass petition can be signed online. 

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