The wrong approach
EDITOR: “The parks system is burning through reserves and still faces a maintenance backlog of more than $1 billion” (“State parks report urges major changes,” Friday). Yet the solution is “revenue generation has to be optimized.”
This is a one-size-fits-all statement. Sonoma County has a unique situation in that most of our accessible coast is under the jurisdiction of the state Parks Department. Parking fees seem to be its only solution. This is short-sighted and would lead to more expenses. Infrastructure costs to upgrade the parking lots and install machines or toll booths would add budget pressure, further setting back needed maintenance.
Nobody wants to pay for access to what in theory we already own. People would park in any wide spot, neighborhood and even in dangerous places. Competition would erupt at desired locations with no fees, leading to tension with neighborhoods and individuals. Parking enforcement would follow. Solution: more officers with ticket books and guns. This is and has been a very expensive solution.
The public loves the coast. There have been many beach cleanups and access trail repairs done by volunteers just this past year. The state can get a lot done by using this goodwill. They will risk it by treating the people who love the coast as a cash cow.