The Santa Barbara County Parks Department is planning to construct rental cabins in several county parks in order to increase tourism.

The cabins are currently planned for parks in Lompoc, Jalama, Summerland and Lookout Point. The rental units should be constructed by March 2011 and are similar to the yurts at El Capitan Canyon Resort complete with beds, water and electricity.

[media-credit id=16616 align=”alignleft” width=”250″][/media-credit]Interim Parks Director Tom Fayram said the cabins will provide an important source of revenue for the department during a period of tight budgeting.

“They will be a new initiative and will provide an experience for visitors and residents to stay in cabins closer to the beach,” Fayram said. “They will also provide additional opportunities for the expansion of our revenues because it is getting hard to compete for money in the county.”

According to Fayram, the profits will come from an increase in tourist spending and grants from the county for maintaining the parks.

Fayram added that the costs of the luxury rentals would be minimal and primarily spent on maintaining cabins for guests.

[media-credit id=16616 align=”alignleft” width=”250″][/media-credit]“The state grant will pay for most of the cabins and that initial revenue will go directly to park services,” Fayram said. “It is a straight forward proposal and has a lot of benefits for the community.”

Despite speculations that the rentals will increase park revenues, Coastal View News writer and Summerland resident Fran Davis said the cabins will be detrimental to the community’s image.

“Our park is really small and it is not getting any bigger,” Davis said. “The space would be much better used as a special day area. The entire community uses this area as its backyard but the county does not want to use it as a public space because there is not enough money to do so.”

Davis added that a small town like Summerland is not appropriate for the county’s plan.

“The county is looking for money wherever it can, but we need to look to the future,” Fran said. “What is the park going to be like for our kids and grandkids?”