On November 2, 2011, I am hosting a conference in Scottsdale, Arizona on how public agencies can keep parks open through private recreation management partnerships.
For thirty years, the US Forest Service has seen radically declining recreation budgets, with far greater reductions than places like California is facing, but has not had to close parks and has kept most of their recreation areas well-maintained.
Their innovation was to take advantage of the substantially lower costs of private operators to run their campgrounds and picnic areas.
For the last couple of years, it has frustrated me to no end to watch states like California and Arizona -- really almost every state in the country -- let some parks accumulate deferred maintenance while other are closed when it simply is not necessary.
The event flyer is here, which hopefully you can also forward as an email from the link at the bottom. If you know anyone in public recreation or in the your state's legislature who is interested in recreation issues, please point them to this site where they can learn about and register for this conference. We have gotten some sponsorships such that government employees can attend for free, and the rooms in the hotel, a fabulous resort in Scottsdale, can be had for just $105 per night.