You'd have to be way off the grid in California to have missed all the reporting about California State Parks closures stemming from budget cuts. As it stands in late April, 2012, the number of parks scheduled for closure in July is approximately 65 (out of over 200). According to the California State Parks website, they're trying to protect the most important cultural resources while impacting the fewest number of visitors.
There's some good news in all of this, with all kinds of folks stepping up to support and keep some parks open. They include:
- East of the Sierras, the Bodie Foundation is pitching in to help run Bodie State Historic Park, Grover Hot Springs and Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve.
- Friends of San Diego Wildlife Refuges is trying to raise money to keep the visitor center open three weekdays at estuary.
- Vons and Coca-Cola announced $50,000 in grants to support Torrey Pines, Silver Strand and Pismo State Beaches
- Bodie Foundation, which is supporting Mono Lake Tufa (as well as keeping Bodie itself open)
- Sempervirens Fund which is taking care of Caste Rock
- Local governments who worked to keep Colusa-Sacramento-River and South Yuba River open
- National Park Service which is staffing Tomales Bay, Samuel P. Taylor and Del Norte Redwoods
- Private donors who are keeping Antelope Valley Indian Museum and McGrath State Beach open
According to an article in the San Jose Mercury News, another 20 parks may be saved. The State Parks website has a closure list here, but it hasn't been updated since January - maybe the budget issues are affecting their website updates, too.
Meanwhile, cutbacks and closures are already under way, but you can't quite put a padlock on Mother Nature. You might be able to walk into a closed park, but don't expect to find any services or maintenance. On an April 15 visit to Moss Landing State Beach (which is on the closure list), we found so much sand blown across the road that we could barely make it to the parking area. You can share your experiences in the Comments section.