California Dept. of Parks & Recreation's $54 million scandal unfolds as we go to print read it here: /Blogs/Happenings/July-2012/California-Parks-Dept-Underreports-54-Million/

The hardworking volunteers at the Benicia State Parks Association have been diligently working behind the scenes, along with City of Benicia representatives, to keep our two state parks open, at least at some level. An operating agreement was reached in June in regards to the Benicia State Capitol for volunteers to staff the building on weekends. In addition, the City staff will maintain the grounds at the Capitol, as well as the restroom. There are public restrooms on either end of First Street, but the restroom at the Capitol is the only one mid-block, an important factor for tourism. As the State moves forward with the closure of 70 State Parks, the California State Parks Association is helping to blunt the blow by doling out small grants to local parks associations (yes, it’s a head-scratcher). Benicia State Parks Association has received $51,000 to date for our two state parks.

In mid-July, the Benicia City Council will have voted on a donor agreement with California State Parks in regard to the Benicia State Recreation Area (BSRA). The agreement calls for the City to pay the State $15,500, from August 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013, to: provide water for drinking fountains and irrigation to the Forrest Deaner Native Plant Botanic Garden, install and service two chemical toilets and provide two dumpsters and weekly service for trash and debris. At this time, there’s no resolution concerning landscaping maintenance at BSRA, but the Benicia Police will continue to patrol the area. Because BSRA was financed by the Federal Land and Water Conservation fund, it is required to be kept open to the public, and as such, will be accessible to pedestrians, bikers, and people with disabilities. It will, however, will remain closed to vehicle access. The agreement is called “a good first step,” and the Benicia State Parks Association hopes for a comprehensive solution for the Benicia State Recreation Area.