A dozen Calif. leaders will revamp imperiled parks

TRACIE CONE, Associated Press
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(Photo credit: California State Parks)

(Photo credit: California State Parks)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A group of California business, education and nonprofit leaders have agreed to help revamp the state parks system in an effort to restore confidence and financial stability to an institution rocked by scandal.

The dozen volunteers include Monterey Bay Aquarium founding director Julie Packard and Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton.

The group will spend the next 18 months addressing the problems that led to the state threatening to close 70 of the 280 parks in the system after long years of funding shortages — and more recent revelations that now-departed leaders socked money in a secret fund.

The privately financed Parks Forward Commission will design a blueprint to make the park system financially viable.

John Laird, secretary of the Department of Natural Resources, said everything is on the table.

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