Kings Beach Recreation Area still a question mark |

Kings Beach Recreation Area still a question mark

KINGS BEACH, Calif. and#8212; With the threat of State Parks shutting down as a result of California’s budget crisis, what will become of Kings Beach State Recreation Area still hangs in the balance.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s wants to shut down 220 of 279 California State Parks as legislators grapple with a growing deficit of roughly $25 billion. While this would be bad news, according to local officials, for the tourist dollars state parks bring to the Truckee/Tahoe area, one particular property’s fate is even more unclear.

For 30 years the Kings Beach State Recreation area has been owned by state parks and operated by the North Tahoe Public Utility District, said Curtis Aaron, general manager for the district.

A new agreement has been in the works for state parks to take over entirely by Jan. 1, 2010, Aaron said, but the district is looking at other options with the threat of state parks closing.

and#8220;They would probably intend to close it, the parking lot would be closed to public access,and#8221; Curtis said.

So the district is exploring options to take over the property, potentially trading it for another piece of property adjacent to Burton Creek, Curtis said. He said owning the recreation area would allow the taxpayers to invest iin their own community amenity.

But Pam Armas, California State Parks Sierra District Superintendent, said they’re not interested in the swap.

and#8220;We’re still working under the assumption we are going to operate the park in January 2010,and#8221; Armas said. and#8220;In case of a total shut down, of course that’s different. We’d pursue other options.and#8221;

And that goes for state parks in general, she said.

and#8220;We’re waiting to find out what the legislators decide, but we are also looking at other options … to keep as many parks open as possible,and#8221; Armas said. and#8220;We are open to any ideas or partnerships.and#8221;

The National Park System has said they could take state park property that was formerly federal, or cut off future funds to parks that have received Federal Land and Water Conservation funds if California moves forward with the closures.

Armas said the state parks director is working with the National Park System to avoid that scenario.

and#8220;We get quite a bit of federal funding for forest management,and#8221; Armas said.

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