June 27, 2012
The park's name means "tick" in Spanish, but it's a lot more loved locally than the blood-gorging bug.
Garrapata State Park, about 7 miles south of Carmel on Highway 1, was scheduled to close July 1, part of the state's effort to save $22 million over two years by freezing services at 70 of California's 279 state parks.
But earlier this month, Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District's board agreed to step up to keep Garrapata open, with a labor assist from Big Sur Land Trust. Together they'll handle restroom maintenance, trash pickup and other basic services. The deal is effective for one year but may be extended.
"Californians cannot allow the long-term deterioration of these state treasures," stated BSLT Executive Director Bill Leahy. "Big Sur Land Trust is bringing our staff and volunteer corp to perform the maintenance duties to keep Garrapata clean."
With MPRPD rangers on the ground at Garrapata and volunteers providing elbow grease, State Parks will only respond to calls for law enforcement and public safety, according to Mat Fuzie, district superintendent for State Parks.
The regional park district has about 20,000 acres and only seven rangers, according to MPRPD board member John Dalessio, so its resources for Garrapata are limited. “But we can certainly do the minimum to keep the park open.”
Point Lobos Foundation has offered to help raise funds for Garrapata, and volunteer groups including Friends of Garrapata and Carmel Valley-based Boy Scout Troop 127 have provided assists with weeds and litter. Those efforts, while not formalized in the partnership, may prove critical as Garrapata forges forward without active State Parks oversight.
Read more in Thursday's issue of the Weekly, in stands all over Monterey County.