Organization Works to Save the Salton Sea State Recreation Area
05/06/2012 05:46PM ● Published by Steve
Help save the Salton Sea State Recreation Area
For the past nine months a small, but dedicated group of volunteers have been working to find a way to keep the Salton Sea State Recreation Area from closing on June 30. The closure of this California State Park will mean that the more than 60,000 yearly visitors who come to learn about and enjoy the Salton Sea will no longer have this one and only venue with which to experience the sea and its memorable vistas. Visitors here are able to get accurate information quickly about the Salton Sea - that it is: Salty? - Yes, Polluted? – No! Beautiful? – Absolutely! These visitors make a significant contribution to our local economy.
The five Board of Directors of the Sea and Desert Interpretive Association, with the help of a few other volunteers, are striving to put together a proposal that would be acceptable to the State of California to get the park off the state’s closure list. They are working to raise public awareness of the Salton Sea SRA and what the closing of the park will mean to the future of the area and the Salton Sea. They are working to stave off a closure that will open the park and its facilities to vandalism and squatters.
The Association has been facing an uphill battle to grow the small non-profit partnered with the State Park so that it can make a successful co-management deal with the state. Even with the scaled down operation that they are proposing, $250,000 is still needed by June to meet this goal. They have been meeting on an almost weekly basis since last August to save the park. Contacts with federal, state and local decision makers have generated some interest but nothing in the way of real help and success.
Board Members Bill Meister, Steve Johnson, Connie Brooks, Frances Fiamengo and Jennie Kelly meet frequently at the Visitor Center at the park to concentrate efforts on preserving the sea. This ongoing process is accomplished be meeting with local and State representatives, businesses, agencies and stakeholders in the Salton Sea to garner financial support to save this all important “window to the Sea.” They realize that the plight of the Salton Sea and the Salton Sea State Recreation Area are linked.
The park is the only place where people can access the Sea directly to enjoy camping, hiking, kayaking and boating, bird watching, fishing and other activities. The educational and interpretive programs that the park offers keep the Sea and its future in the public eye. Without the park, it will be all too easy for decision-makers to forget the importance of California’s largest lake and wildlife area.
Any help from residents, businesses, organizations, utilities, representatives and sponsors will further our goal of keeping the park open and bringing the much needed visitors to the area. You can help by contacting the Sea and Desert Interpretive Association through their website at seaanddesert.org. You can also contact SDIA President Bill Meister directly at 760-393-3690.