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State park groups fret over secret fund debacle

Posted: July 23, 2012 6:00 p.m.
Updated: July 23, 2012 6:00 p.m.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Some nonprofit groups are concerned their efforts to keep state parks open are being hurt by reports of budget irregularities at the state parks department.

Officials with a number of volunteer groups say they were blindsided by reports that secret accounts holding more than $53 million existed at the Department of Parks and Recreation, even as they raised money to keep 70 state parks open past a July 1 closure deadline.

The disclosure of the hidden money came days after reports of secret parks department vacation time buyouts.

Carolyn Schoff, president of the California League of Parks Associations, said Monday that the public has been betrayed. She also says that she was involved in four emergency board meetings this weekend on the topic.

Clark Blanchard, a spokesman for the California Natural Resources Agency that oversees the parks department, says officials are working to regain the public's trust.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.




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