Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

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70 California State Parks to Close Under Governor Brown’s Budget

12

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.
About CSPF
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.
About SOS

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.

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.

Here’s the complete list of park closures we can expect – 25% of the state’s parks in total. What a shame. Here’s more from SF Chronicle.

Climbers at Castle Rock State Park.

Climbers at Castle Rock State Park.

Beautiful vistas and hiking trails in Castle Rock State Park.

Beautiful vistas and hiking trails in Castle Rock State Park.

Via CA State 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.

About CSPF
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.

About SOS
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.

  • http://www.sierrajournal.com Emilie Cortes

    The Access Fund has a really easy letter writing tool for CA residents that literally takes about 30 seconds to complete. Have you done your part? http://bit.ly/mxF0Ke

  • Stephania Andrade

    WHAT? This is ridiculous!

  • kevin

    Just treat the parks as open land. What are they going to do? Hire rangers to patrol the parks so noone goes there? The same rangers they cant afford to keep paying? Closing castle rock will be an impossibility.

    • http://www.sierrajournal.com Matthew DiPietro

      Very true. Park access can’t really be restricted. But parking lots and other services will be closed, making access difficult for families and such…

      • Wes

        True, park access can’t be entirely restricted, but I think you two are missing the point. I, for one, am not so upset about the parking lots and bathrooms being taken away as I am about the preservation of the land being threatened. What I want to know is what will become of all that land? Will the state still own it? If it is just treated as unmanaged land, who’s to stop the land from being abused and destroyed? An incredible amount of effort goes into the preservation of these places — without the park service tending to them they could very well become polluted and unsafe. Imagine sneaking into a closed castle rock only to find tons of graffiti and getting mugged at knife point.

        Sounds like a good time.

        • http://www.sierrajournal.com Matthew DiPietro

          Wes – totally agreed…

        • Seaotter

          This is going to destroy local economies and skyrocket diabetes, stress disorders and heart disease. But I guess the state doesn’t have to pay for that.
          Why are the giant corps like REI, Specialized etc hire them a budget manager, or at
          least a lawyer for an arm y of volunteers, because you know litigation is the major cost.

          If it is public land, why is it not patrolled by police? If these are hard times than the first common sense thing these fools can do is work together. Closing the parks will cost America more in lost business, lost jobs, healthcare cost and not to mention the the great pick up nature can be for the downtrodden, an inspiration to keep going.

          How come the open space preserves can manage and without fee’s?
          How about our useless over paid law makers hire out the management to the open space folks who seem to do more with less.
          I bet they would save tons of money, especially when those folks see the whole budget.
          I would like to see the budget myself. Anyone know where to find a copy, with an itemized
          human resources paycheck section? I bet my 6 year old nephew could budget with more
          efficiency, commonsense and fairness.

          Also, I believe the Cal constitution prohibits the sale of these lands. However strengthening this so “corporate persons” don’t
          go in and do something “inhuman” seems to be in order.

          • Seaotter

            Sorry first few sentences got garbled by my slow connection and I failed to see it.

  • Brian

    good hope they close Pismo Beach state park all the rangers are assholes

    • Dave

      “Pot, meet kettle.”

      Brian, that hasn’t been my overall experience. I can’t help suspecting that your attitude and behavior may have something to do with your contacts and experiences with the rangers.

  • Penny

    This is horrible. As a Canadian I know I don’t really have a right to comment but I believe it is critical for CA to keep its state parks open and preserve the land in its natural glory. Americans and Canadians need to join together in keeping North America beautiful. We need to support each other economically and environmentally. My new year’s resolution is to avoid purchasing anything made in China. We need our jobs as do Americans and the only way this can happen is to stop supporting China.

    • http://www.sierrajournal.com Matthew DiPietro

      I’m not sure how you made the leap from CA state park closures to your buy American stance. But thanks for the comment! Agreed closing CA state parks is horrible.