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California trade group urges audit of parks department

Responding to reports alleging nearly $54 million in hidden surplus funds at the state Department of Parks and Recreation, the California boater advocacy organization Recreational Boaters of California is urging state policy leaders and legislators to conduct a thorough investigation and audit of boater funds provided to the state Department of Parks and Recreation.

That’s according to a letter sent by Jerry Desmond Jr., director of government relations for the Recreational Boaters of California.

“These news reports are of great concern,” Recreational Boaters of California president Cleve Hardaker said in the letter. “California’s boaters provide significant funding to state parks through park entrance fees as well as fuel tax dollars totaling close to $30 million per year. It is essential that boaters have confidence that the funds we pay the state are used wisely and effectively.”

The integrity of state parks is even more important to boaters after the July 3 enactment of the Governor’s Reorganization Proposal No. 2 that places the Department of Boating and Waterways into State Parks as a division, effective July 1, 2013, the letter said.

Hardaker said that “additional action, including legislation, may be warranted.”

“RBOC will continue our advocacy efforts to preserve and enhance the interests of the recreational boating community,” Hardaker said in the letter.

Hardaker encouraged California boaters to contact their legislators in the Senate and Assembly, urging them to take action and demand a full accounting of boater funds that have been directed to the Department of Parks and Recreation.

Click here to find your California legislator.

Click here for the full letter.

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