May 14, 2012 (Palomar)--Rick Barclay, Chairman of Friends of Palomar Mountain State Park, is pleased to announce a $20,000 pledge from SDG&E that will help keep the park open and expand its educational programs for visitors and underserved communities. Palomar is one of 70 state parks slated for permanent closure due to recent budget cutbacks. Friends of Palomar Mountain State Park is the non-profit association working to close the gap between the park's revenue and operating expenses through community donations in order to keep the park open.
"This gift from SDG&E will help keep us afloat, no doubt about it," said Barclay. “The grant will also move us forward by helping underserved children in the community visit the park and learn about nature and stewardship for the environment. These are kids who otherwise would probably never experience the natural beauty of a place like Palomar. And that gets back to the original vision of the state park system, to make sure everyone has access to California's natural and cultural wonders, such as Palomar."
SDG&E’s support will sponsor the park's Outdoor Youth Adventure Program, an umbrella program that gives young people a positive experience with nature and cultivates respect for the environment. "We even have a working historical fire tower --- something that few parks can boast of and which provides an excellent opportunity to teach kids about fire safety and responsibility," said Barclay. “Palomar's Outdoor Youth Adventure Program will give people yet another reason to visit the park with their kids and grandkids. Getting more people to the park means more revenue which we need to keep the doors open."
The California State Parks operate with the help of tax dollars which Palomar will no longer receive starting in July. Instead, under the terms of an agreement between the Friends of Palomar Mountain State Park and the Department of Parks and Recreation that is awaiting signature by the director of State Parks, Palomar will have to rely on the revenue it generates and charitable contributions from the community to remain open.