Since the announcement of State Park closures in May 2011, the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) has worked diligently to find solutions to keep Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park open for the public’s enjoyment. Last year, SYRCL signed a donor agreement with the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to keep the park, which preserves the world’s largest hydraulic mine dating back to 1852, open to the public through June 30, 2014.
With the June 2014 deadline less than a year away, SYRCL is working with DPR to develop a long-term solution to save the historic park by reducing operational expenses and raising new revenue. Progress towards this goal advanced thanks to the generous award of a $4,000 Park Partnership Grant from the California State Parks Foundation, which will be matched dollar-for-dollar by DPR.
“These funds will be used to conduct an environmental study of installing a comprehensive solar power system at the park, which could save $60,000 to $80,000 per year in diesel fuel and propane costs for generators and benefit the environment as well,” said Caleb Dardick, SYRCL Executive Director. “We deeply appreciate the Foundation’s support, which brings us one step closer to removing Malakoff Diggins from the closure list.”
The $8,000 will fund a State Parks Environmental Scientist to evaluate various options to power the park. Parks staff will compare a new solar power to the current diesel generators and bringing PG&E service to the Park, which is off the grid.
SYRCL seeks to also expand the coalition of supporters of Malakoff Diggins advocating in Sacramento. In addition to the existing parks associations and conservation organizations already involved, SYRCL is encouraging local school districts, historic preservation and mining interests to participate as well.
Malakoff Diggins is much loved by visitors interested in California’s Gold Rush history. The Park consists of 3,200-forested acres surrounding the remains of one of the largest hydraulic mining operations in the state including its one- by two-mile pit carved by water cannons, the historic preserved Gold Rush town of North Bloomfield, and multiple hiking trails.
Securing sufficient funding to keep the park open through June 2014 could not have been done without the generous support from the California State Parks Foundation, the Malakoff Diggins Park Association and the Olmsted Park Fund.