- Associated Press - Thursday, January 29, 2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - An independent commission is recommending officials find ways to attract younger and ethnically diverse people from the cities to visit California’s state parks.

Parks Forward will make its recommendations on Friday when it turns in a report to state lawmakers.

Recommendations also include forming a non-profit to partner with other organizations and creating a team to modernize the agency.

Parks Forward is a group formed to revamp the state’s Department of Parks and Recreation. It was created following a 2012 controversy when $54 million were found hidden in the department’s accounts amid threats to close 70 state parks.

State Rep. Marc Levine, a Democrat from San Rafael, says he welcomes the plan that makes parks more accessible to all Californians.

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