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Marin Lawmaker Pushing Alternative To California Park Closures

SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) - Several dozen state parks are scheduled for closure throughout the state in 2012. But a state assemblyman from San Rafael has introduced a bill to stop that from happening.

It was first announced in May 2011 that upwards of 70 state parks would be closed in July 2012 because there simply wasn't enough money to continue funding all 279 parks.

Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, hopes his legislation would put the brakes on that plan.

"Parks really have a fantastic constituency," he reasoned. "That is going to be a big part of how we succeed here."

KCBS' Barbara Taylor Reports:

Huffman wants to create a state park enterprise fund that would attract large philanthropic donors. He also wants to raise revenue by putting in reliable fee collection equipment at park facilities, as well as instituting the sale of state park vanity license plates.

Huffman's bill does allow for the closure of up to 25 parks - and without legislative approval. Still, Huffman maintains that his goal is to keep all parks open.

"Whether we can achieve that for all 70 remains to be seen, but we're certainly going to try," he said. "I think our parks deserve no less."

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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