Mount Diablo observation deck another victim of state budget woes

Save Mount Diablo hopes to raise money for renovations

On a clear day, it's said that one can see 200 miles -- as far away as Yosemite National Park -- from the observation deck at Diablo State Park.

If one can get to the observation deck, that is. It's been closed for a year now, another victim of the state's budget crisis.

"There's no funding," said Julie Seelen, development director at Save Mount Diablo. "If they barely have the funds to keep the park open, that's not high priority."

That's just one of a series of problems at the park stemming from years of deferred maintenance. A road is falling away from the hillside. A water system is about to go.

"Now we're looking at $100,000 to $200,000 projects," Seelen said.

While the group's core mission is to save the land around the mountain, it also works with the rangers, raising funds for some of the smaller stuff that's been cut by the state.

"We talk with the state park and try to find out what their needs are," Seelen said.

One of SMD's pet projects is restoring the Pearl Harbor Beacon at Diablo's Summit. Known as the Eye of Diablo, The group is working with the Pearl Harbor Survivors and State Parks to create a plan and raise funds to restore the the beacon on the observation deck that's been lit annually to commemorate Pearl Harbor

"The observation deck, the beacon, they're all part of the same building," Seelen said.

Despite a $192,000 renovation to the visitors center completed last year, -- thanks to a 2006 state parks bond -- the roof of the center is leaking. That roof is the floor of the observation deck.

The deck was closed last year, and there's no timetable for getting it fixed any time soon.

Seelen said SMD is working with the park to figure out what exactly needs to be done. Once the scope of the work and an estimate of how much the renovations will cost is determined, the group will begin raising funds.


Like this comment
Posted by John DeAngelo
a resident of Alamo
on Aug 26, 2011 at 6:30 am

If our national priorities were right, we would put people to work on our once enviable park system and infrastructure rather than funding wars and subsidizing big oil and agra-industries. This country has lost its "greatness" compass.

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Posted by rowlena
a resident of Alamo
on Aug 26, 2011 at 6:33 am

if all thise who can afford it in this rich rich area gave $500 to 1k we could fix and open the observation deck and fix the beacan so fast..alas its new cars and electonics which go obsolete when the new model comes out faster then the new facelift sags...oh well ...carry on ..

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Posted by Harald A. Bailey
a resident of another community
on Aug 26, 2011 at 8:37 am

Thank you Editor,

Per my request to Dolores, I wanted to engage media in a funding program that would specifically repair and maintain this building and its beacon. Please publish the SMD funding address and how SMD might create a dedicated fund for contributions and at-cost construction services.

Like this comment
Posted by jrm
a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Aug 26, 2011 at 11:43 pm

What is the fully loaded salary of a Mount Diablo Park Ranger?
Who can tell me?....

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Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Aug 27, 2011 at 6:29 pm

I think a more relevant question to ask JRM is how many park rangers there are today, or will be in the near future, compared to how many there were in 2008. I get your gist; that they get quite a good salary and benefits, but some of that depends on how long they've worked and what level they are at.
People making a decent living wage is NOT what is wrong with our country. Just try to answer the question that Mr. DeAngelo put forth, since that's the one we should be asking.

Like this comment
Posted by Harald A. Bailey
a resident of another community
on Aug 30, 2011 at 9:23 am

Dear Editor,

Here is the response to my previous request:

There is clear precedent for the establishment of dedicated funds to complete many types of work within the State Parks and specifically at Mount Diablo. The Mount Diablo Interpretive Association is the State sanctioned cooperative association for Mount Diablo State Park and is able to collect donations and direct 100% of the funds collected to the state park. As an all volunteer non profit organization, donors receive all allowable tax incentives and the Association works with the park superintendant to direct those donations to specific projects. We have done this over time on many projects at Mount Diablo including the establishment of the visitors center at Mitchell Canyon near Clayton and the recent renovation of the summit visitors center. If any individual or group would like to work on a public fund raising campaign for the summit deck repair, MDIA has all of the financial mechanisms available to help this happen. We are also able to work with closely with Save Mount Diablo who also has a broad reach into fundraising opportunities.

President MDIA

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