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State parks scheduled to be closed by July2012

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State parks scheduled to be closed by July2012
November 27, 2011 03:12PM
Hanging a ‘closed' sign on state parks
Nov. 27, 2011
By GARY A. WARNER / Register Travel Editor

State Park Struggle: The state could close up to a quarter of all state parks because of a budget crunch. The National Park Service and non-profit groups may try to save some parks from July deadline.

I grew up in California and have spent thousands of hours in California state parks, walking the trails and swimming on the beaches. I've used fire rings at Doheny Beach and toured Hearst Castle. Like millions of Californians, I have my own little pockets of the state park system that I love but that others have never visited.

For me, it's Richardson Grove State Park, near Garberville in the north coast redwoods. My family used to vacation in the summers at nearby Hartsook Inn, and we'd spend a lot of time at the park and the nearby Eel River. When Hartsook closed, our allegiance moved up a few miles to Benbow Lake State Recreation Area.

Now the system that has nurtured these parks is in deep trouble. For the past half decade, cutbacks to the parks have loomed with every budget cycle. Last summer, the state decided to close 70 of the parks – about a quarter of the system – by July 1, 2012, due to a state budget that spends more than it takes in. Closing the parks would save the state an estimated $22 million.

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