State Parks agrees to settlement in Castle Rock suit
the California Department of Parks and Recreation adopted an inadequate
General Plan for Castle Rock State Park in 2000, the Sierra Club
and a group called Friends of Castle Rock State Park filed suit
to protect the park's fragile biological resources. The Department's
plan focused heavily on preconceived notions of park design with
no scientific analysis that would allow for more informed planning.
The settlement provides for consideration of alternatives to the
proposed campground and parking lot adjacent to the black oak forest.
To ensure appropriate management decisions in the future, the Department
of Parks and Recreation agreed to the establishment of an advisory
committee of scientists with expertise in conservation biology and
no personal financial or professional stake in the outcome.
State Parks also agreed to collect existing data for analysis of
the regional cumulative impacts of developments at Castle Rock State
Park and other parks in the area. Specifically they will examine
impact of development on marbled murrelet habitat, mountain lion
habitat, knobcone pine forest, black oak forest, ancient redwood
forest, riparian areas, and maritime chaparral.
In addition, State Parks will develop and conduct a meaningful carrying
capacity analysis for Castle Rock State Park. The conservation biologists
on the advisory committee will be involved in adoption of the criteria
for this analysis to ensure that they are science based.
The Club would like to thank both attorney Deborah Sivas from Earthjustice,
and the Stanford Law Clinic for their unfailing help with this important
litigation. This lawsuit has demonstrated to the State Department
of Parks and Recreation that it must implement both legal requirements
and modern scientific methodologies for park planning that will
conserve resources while providing for high-quality recreational
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