Help Save Our California State Parks—Again!

May 14, 2011

Jack London State Historic ParkBack in 2009 we wrote about the proposal to help alleviate California's budget problems by closing 200 of our priceless state parks. Fast forward to 2011 and legislators again propose to shut down 70 of our state parks—25% of California's state parks system—to help trim the state budget gap. This time the closures are permanent, marking the first time in the century-long history of the California State Park system that park closures would be implemented.

You can see a list and map of the proposed closures here.

This is an incredibly short-sighted, harmful, and embarrassing plan that ultimately will only serve to hurt the state of California, its citizens, visitors, and businesses. Closing parks will have a severe financial impact on nearby businesses that serve park visitors, and the tax revenue they provide. Closure of state parks will also leave them open to potential environmental damage and vandalism.

A Blow to Marin and the Bay Area

Picnic Area at China Camp State Park in San RafaelThe proposed closures would be particularly devastating to Marin and the Bay Area. In Marin, the following parks are on the chopping block:

This list alone contains some of the Bay Area's natural and cultural gems. Elsewhere close to home, we stand to lose access to gems such as Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen, Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park, Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in Kenwood, and Annadel State Park in Santa Rosa. From Crescent City to San Diego, nearly every area of California will be affected.

Perhaps more serious than the potential economic loss to the state and local communities is the loss of these valuable resources to California's families. The state parks are the sources of countless vacations, outings, and day trips for millions, and it would be shameful to lose the opportunities they provide for children to spend time outdoors, learn about history and nature, and help become better citizens and future stewards of our state and its lands.

What You Can Do to Help

If you agree that closing our state parks is not in the best interests of the people of California, then take action and make your voice heard! Visit the website of the California State Parks Foundation to learn more about the proposed closures and to send a letter opposing them to your local legislators and Governor Brown. The Foundation has also put together a collection of resources and information about the subject at www.savestateparks.org.

If you know of any other resources, please share them with us by leaving a comment below.