Bill Signed to Protect Skyline Park for Future Generations

Thursday, September 30, 2010

(SACRAMENTO, CA) –The governor signed a bill authored by Assemblymember Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) allowing Napa County to purchase Skyline Park as state surplus property.

“This hard-fought victory is especially sweet,” said Evans.  “Saving Skyline has long been a call to action in our community.  After years of hard work, many people are breathing sighs of relief and savoring this exciting moment.”

Sponsored by the Napa County Board of Supervisors, AB 2279 allows Napa County to purchase Skyline Park by January 1, 2015 as state surplus property.  It stipulates that any land purchase – all or part of the park’s 850 acres – must be made at fair market value, and the county can only use the land as a park or wilderness preserve. 

AB 2279 includes other conditions of purchase, including the granting of an easement to Napa State Hospital for the continued use of Camp Coombs, which provides a therapeutic and natural environment where the hospital’s residents enjoy barbeques, picnics, nature walks, and gardening activities.  The camp also serves as a destination for Napa County’s youth groups and schools.

“The preservation of Skyline Park has long been a top conservation priority,” said Senator Pat Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa), co-author of AB 2279.  “It is essential that we maintain this precious recreational resource as parkland, and I thank the governor for his support on this important piece of legislation."

Wiggins authored Senate Bill (SB) 678 in 2007, which the governor vetoed.  Since that time, while Evans served as Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, the governor has signed legislation allowing the state to sell numerous properties to help close the state budget gap.  Beyond these contextual changes, AB 2279 is different from SB 678 because it allows Napa County to partner with a nonprofit land trust or nonprofit conservation entity to purchase the property.

Since 1979, Napa County has leased Skyline Park from the state.  Located at Napa State Hospital, the park includes over 12 miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding and bicycling.  There is also a native plant garden, horse arena, archery range and a disc golf course.

Further information about this legislation is available at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov.