The public is invited to meet the new director of State Parks on Saturday at an open house in Grover Beach.
The public event is part of a daylong tour Jackson is conducting of the Oceano Dunes District. He will tour the State Vehicular Recreation Area and meet with State Parks staff, said Brent Marshall, district superintendent.
The visit has been a morale booster for the park staff, Marshall said. The Oceano Dunes District and State Parks as a whole have been involved in several controversies that have hurt morale in the department.
“To have the director come down and give everyone a pat on the back is a big deal,” he said.
The Oceano Dunes District is developing a dust-control program for the park at the direction of the county Air Pollution Control District, a move State Parks resisted. A Superior Court judge recently threw out two lawsuits that had been filed challenging the dust rule.
Last year, State Parks was rocked by scandal when it was revealed that it had $54 million in hidden assets at a time when the department was slashing staffing levels and threatening to close as many as 70 parks.
The visit is part of a listening tour that Jackson is conducting to help restore trust in the department. Light appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages will be served at the open house.
The Oceano Dunes visit is one of two San Luis Obispo County appearances planned by Jackson. On May 8, he will participate in the graduation ceremony at the department’s ranger academy at Camp San Luis Obispo.
He will pin the badges on the uniforms of 26 new rangers and lifeguards, said Juventino Ortiz, academy coordinator. The event is open to the family and friends of the graduates by invitation only.