The easements require that lands be preserved in their natural, scenic, historical, agricultural, forested, or open-space conditions, even after change of ownership.
“In the face of ongoing growth and development across California, the Department of Parks and Recreation lacks the ability to purchase conservation easements,” Wiggins said. “SB 1431 would allow the department to purchase easements if it is determined that there is a need to protect a state park from an encroaching incompatible use.
“And the use of easements is a cost-effective way to protect a state park because it would allow the property to be held by private hands and thus not require maintenance resources from the state,” Wiggins added.
SB 1431, which is sponsored by the Nature Conservancy, would authorize the Department of Parks and Recreation to make grants to a state or local government agency or a nonprofit land trust organization to purchase and hold conservation easements.
SB 1431, which has yet to be scheduled for its first hearing in the Capitol, is similar to bill carried last year by Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo), which got stuck in committee.
Wiggins, who represents California’s 2nd Senate District, has come out in opposition to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposal to close 48 state parks as a cost-cutting move, a move she says is “both short-sighted and likely to have a long-term negative impact on the quality of life in California.”
The 2nd District includes portions or all of six counties: Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Solano and Sonoma.
To find out more about Senator Patricia Wiggins, including her legislation, please visit her website at: http://dist02.casen.govoffice.com/.