The announcement this past Friday, the 20th, had activists across the board angry at Sacramento. After the much contested cuts to OHV, and the year-long threat of State Park closures, the discovery of $50 million in unaccounted for funds at the Department of Parks and Recreation has had everyone wondering why we were asked to jump into emergency action mode when it seems like the money was available all along.
But, as many of these things often are, it is more complicated than it is being reported as in the press. First, the $50 million is not free-and-clear money. $33.5 million of it is part of the OHV trust fund, meaning that it can only (and could only have ever) been used for the Department's OHV program. Even had this $33.5 million been discovered earlier, it could not have been used to save any of the 70 State Parks that were on the closure list.
Read more: Budget Windfall or Media Posturing?
About forty members of the public, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) representatives, and Desert Advisory Council (DAC) members met early on Friday morning, the 20th of April, to take a tour of the El Paso Mountains and Jawbone Canyon. The Desert Advisory Council advises the BLM on the management of the nearly 11 million acres which comprise the California Desert District. To be sure that they have an accurate knowledge of the areas on which they are advising the DAC periodically takes tours of various areas of interest, in this case with the BLM leading the tour in conjunction with Friends of Jawbone. For DAC Members it was a chance to see the backroads of the El Paso Mountains and Jawbone Canyon regions. For the public it was a unique opportunity to see the DAC and BLM in action and witness first hand the areas being affected by the WEMO act and various conservation projects.
Read more: Jawbone Canyon Plays Host to the Desert Advisory Council