Monday, April 1, 2013

Editorial: California must vet various operating models for its struggling state parks Read more here:

How screwed up is this?

Hearst Castle actually fits today's much-touted "enterprise model" – not the "free public good" model. It draws 650,000 visitors a year and takes in $11 million a year in tours, concession operations and licensing agreements. It costs $10 million a year to operate.

The extra revenue goes to fund other units in the state park system, not to Hearst Castle to cover infrastructure and art conservation costs, so deferred maintenance costs are increasing. Hearst Castle recently got $10 million in state bond funds to repair the roof and pool. But if Hearst Castle, and other park units, could keep some of their revenues, they would be able to spread more of their infrastructure costs over many years. That is worth exploring.
I have an even better solution:  Get rid of publicly funded parks.

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