Tuesday, 09 August 2022

Jarrett: Don't close the state parks

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,


The members of the Lake County Children's Museum of Art and Science (CMAS) would like to convey to you our dismay at the recent news that Anderson Marsh State Historic Park in Lower Lake is designated for closure.


Although this park has been under-funded for years, the communities of Lake County treasure this invaluable natural and historic resource. The Anderson Marsh Interpretative Association (AMIA) has a strong docent program and has been responsible for hosting a variety of cultural events which are always very well received by both the local community and visiting tourists.


Within the last few months, CMAS and AMIA have agreed to partner on a project to create a hands-on Discovery Center, classroom and outdoor amphitheater at the park. This project aligns with the state approved park plan and has already received conceptual approval from the California Department of Parks. We have engaged the services of a grant writer and are receiving widespread support from local service groups, community leaders, parents and the general public.


While CMAS does not yet have a permanent facility, for the past five years our group has sponsored a variety of art and science events. The positive public response to these events indicates to us that there is strong demand and support for a permanent interactive art and science museum. Our partnership with AMIA will provide a powerful opportunity to pool the efforts of two respected community groups and bring a stellar educational experience to both local citizens and visitors.


Across California, art and science education are being marginalized due to the emphasis on standardized testing. In addition, we all recognize the need for engaging outdoor experiences to combat childhood obesity as well as the need to provide positive recreational experiences to offset the lure of gangs and drugs. The few dollars which could be saved by closing Anderson Marsh State Historic Park are vastly overshadowed by the negative impacts to our local community.


Please do not allow the possibility of short term gains to override our efforts to develop long term positive effects. Anderson Marsh State Historic Park is a jewel which should be supported, developed and treasured, not disregarded and discarded. We need your help to keep the park open.


Thank you for your consideration.


Carolynn Jarrett is president of the Lake County Children's Museum of Art and Science and a member of the Konocti Unified School District Board of Trustees. She lives in Clearlake.


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