The Privatization of State Parks

Posted by Nick Kump at May 16, 2011 02:50 PM |
As you know doubt have read (because we know you read every posting on One Floor Down) Doug Ose is doing great things with Gibson Ranch in Sacramento County.

For those that missed the interview, you can listen to it again here. Ose has a taken a park that Sacramento County could no longer afford to maintain and turned it into something for the community to be proud of. He has invested his own dollars in the project and both he and the County will share in the profits.

The success of this endeavor and the recent news about the closure of 70 California State Parks leads us to the natural conclusion that closing these parks is not the only solution to save the state money. As we all know the government cannot efficiently manage anything, there is so much waste and bureaucracy that it is amazing that any of the state parks are able to make money. On the other hand, when an organization or business is run by an individual to make money, they are a lot more careful because if the venture loses money there is no taxpayer safety net to fallback on or money to borrow from next year's budget.

If Doug Ose's management of Gibson Ranch continues to be successful, and all indications are that it will be, this could be a solution to help ensure that Californians get to enjoy State Parks for years to come. Just as there was with Ose, there would have to be a submission of proposals and regulations about what can be done to the park. The new lessor would have the freedom to invest and make money in ways that the State never could. This idea would then also benefit the government because not only would citizens continue to enjoy State Parks, but the government would share the profits without having to use resources to staff or maintain the park.

Closing any of our State Parks is a shame because an entire generation of Californians could miss out on the natural beauty this state has to offer, however it is even more tragic when there is a potential solution that has been proven effective. Hopefully someone will see the merits of taking risks, building a business and being entrepreneur in California and this blueprint could be adopted elsewhere, but with the way most of California seems to love big government, we won't hold our breath.

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