June 2, 2012 (San Francisco) -- Efforts by a local group to keep Palomar Mountain State Park open were given a shot in the arm with a $20,000 grant from the California State Parks Foundation (CSPF), the San Francisco based charitable organization dedicated to protecting, enhancing and advocating for California's magnificent state parks.
Palomar was one of seventy state parks slated for permanent closure July 1 due to budget cutbacks, but in a three-year deal tentatively reached between Sacramento and Friends of Palomar Mountain State Park (FPMSP), Palomar will remain open as long as the local non-profit can raise enough money to cover the park's operating deficit.
"This tremendous donation from CSPF rounds out our first year's mission-critical funding, which not only closes Palomar's projected operating deficit, but also gives the park staying power in the face of unforeseen costs or underperforming revenue," said Rick Barclay, chairman of Friends of PMSP. "This takes us out of survival mode for the first year and frees us up to focus on things that will actually move Palomar forward."
To keep the park open, Friends of PMSP must raise a projected $60,000 a year for its general fund just to cover the day-in, day-out operating gap, as well as $50,000 a year to provide a contingency fund for unfavorable operating variances and capital expenditures. "Once the agreement is signed by the director of State Parks, the deal is done and Palomar will be in free flight", adds Barclay. "The only sources of money to pay the bills --- whether it's payroll, pencils or to replace a worn out truck --- will be the fees the park charges and donations from the public. That's it. We will no longer be receiving tax dollars to stay afloat."
So far over 300 supporters --- from San Diego to Scotland --- have pledged or donated over $84,000 to the association's $180,000 general fund. The first year contingency fund has been filled with grants from CSPF and the association's parent 501(c)(3) charitable organization, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park Interpretive Association, which has supported Palomar for over 20 years. "We're in this for the long haul," says Barclay. "Saving Palomar isn't an event, it will be an on-going process."