Time running out for state parks

In an effort to repair a badly-broken state budget, California plans to close 70 of the state’s 279 campgrounds and parks by July.

The plan aims to save the state millions of dollars a year, but could cost scores of families looking for inexpensive and wholesome vacations, summer memories of hiking, catching bugs, cooking out in the open or fleeing SPF 80-wielding moms.

Negotiations are currently in the works to save 35 of the 70 parks. But for many Californians, these next few months will be the last opportunity to pitch a tent and light a barbecue at the family’s traditional camp site or take a nap under a favorite tree.

The closures were scheduled to help reduce the state’s budget by $11 million for the next fiscal year.

Ruth Coleman, director of California State Parks, said:

“We regret closing any park, but with the proposed budget reductions over the two year period, we can no longer afford to operate all parks within the system.”

The Parks department has been working to find donors and partners to help keep parks open, but as of the beginning of the year was only able to save nine.

The endangered parks include the Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park, Turlock Lake, Moss Landing, Point Cabrillo Light Station and Standish-Hickey in southern Mendocino County.

For a full list of endangered parks visit the California parks website.