70 California State Parks to Close Under Governor Brown’s Budget
Those of us who love to visit areas in the CA State Park system could be in for a shock if Gov. Brown’s budget becomes reality. His budget includes the closure of 70 park areas including classic climbing areas like Castle Rock State Park. See below for the full press release from the parks foundation.
California State Parks Foundation Opposes Massive Number of State Park Closures
Governor Brown’s budget cuts result in list to close 70 state parks
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California State Parks today released the list of state parks to be closed as a direct result of the budget cuts proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown and adopted by the Legislature. The list contains 70 parks to be closed—25 percent of the entire state park system. The California State Parks Foundation (CSPF) strongly opposes these closures.
“Californians across the state have now heard the proverbial shoe drop for our state parks system,” said Elizabeth Goldstein, president of CSPF. “When the governor first proposed the cut to state parks, we warned that the closures would be devastating, and clearly they will be. At a time when local communities are struggling to be part of the state’s recovery, this proposal shuts the door to a vital part of our economy. Closing these parks is going in the wrong direction.”
Some of the statewide impacts of the list means 36 of California’s 58 counties will see park closures, and more than 40 percent of the state’s entire State Historic Parks –destinations for students and field trips about California’s history and statehood – are slated to close. The list includes closing some of the most unique, historic, culturally important and iconic state parks in California, including:
- The second largest state park in the entire state park system, and largest in Northern California (Henry Coe State Park)
- The home of famous author, adventurer, and California native Jack London (Jack London State Historic Park)
- The state park that has served as a backdrop for more than 200 films and still draws the film industry today (Railtown 1897 State Historic Park)
Although other closure lists have been drawn up in the past by State Parks in response to previous budget cut proposals, this is the first comprehensive list of closures that will be fully implemented. This is based on the $22 million cut to State Parks in the FY 11-12 budget framework that was adopted by the Legislature in late March and included in the trailer bills signed by the governor on March 24.
“This generation is on the verge of leaving California’s state park system smaller and in every way diminished for the next generation,” said Goldstein. “Although park closures have been threatened before, this constitutes the first time in the 100 year history of California state parks that a serious, deliberate effort has been made to significantly reduce the state parks system. The message to our children and grandchildren is that we can’t save their natural and historic legacy. They can no longer expect to have access to a public trust resource that should, by all rights, be theirs.”
CSPF questions the ability of the state to fully and effectively close most of the parks on the released list. Many of the parks on the list have multiple and varied entry points. Even those facilities that can have gates locked or doors closed are at risk. Vandalism, theft and other illegal activities have already occurred in parks that have nominal staffing. Fully shutting down state parks will only exacerbate those problems facing state parks and seriously threaten the preservation of these vital resources.
“Shutting down 25 percent of the state parks system is a paradigm shift for California’s state parks,” said Goldstein. “For over 42 years, CSPF has focused on the vision of state parks that we inherited. As we work through what it means to alter our state parks system in the ways that are being currently contemplated, it’s imperative that we have a vision for the future and that vision guides decisions that will be made in these troubling economic times.”
CSPF invites the public to join our Save Our State Parks Campaign, and numerous other organizations across the state, to fight this proposal and maintain a strong public commitment to state parks.
More information about the park closure list can be found at calparks.org/ParkClosures.
With our 120,000 members, the California State Parks Foundation (CSPF) is the only statewide independent nonprofit membership organization dedicated to protecting, enhancing and advocating for California’s magnificent state parks. CSPF is committed to improving the quality of life for all Californians by expanding access to the natural beauty, rich culture and history, and recreational and educational opportunities offered by California’s 278 state parks—the largest state park system in the United States. For more information about California’s state parks, visit calparks.org.
The Save Our State Parks (SOS) Campaign is a statewide, grassroots campaign to keep California’s magnificent state parks open. In partnership with organizations, businesses, local governments, and individuals around the state, the California State Parks Foundation is leading SOS Campaign activities and generating awareness and action about these unacceptable budget proposals. For more information visit: savestateparks.org.