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California State Parks contains the largest and most diverse natural and cultural heritage holding of any state agency in the nation. They encompass, 278 parks and 1.4 million acres, 280 miles of coastline and 625 miles of river and lake frontage, 3,000 miles of biking hiking and equestrian trails and 15,000 campsites (1). They are a low-cost recreation option for millions of visitors each year and provide an important historical and natural resource for parents and teachers to engage children with the natural environment and immerse them in California’s rich history. California parks also play a vital role in the protection of natural resources. Sadly, the services provided by California’s State Parks are under threat by a proposal that would shut most of them down.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed to eliminate General Fund support for the 220 of California State Parks that rely on it. The proposed closure of 80% of California’s State Parks is part of the Governors budget plan to save $213 million over the next two years. Twenty-two of the proposed park closures are on the North Coast. The consequent drop in tourism could further damage it and other coastal counties that depend on the income of tourists to survive. Fourteen of the proposed park closures are in Humboldt County.

The savings from closing the parks would be insignificant. According to California State Parks Foundation President Elizabeth Goldstein, for every dollar that funds the parks, visitors to the communities surrounding the parks spend $2.35 in tax revenue that is returned to the General fund. The closures could result in a state loss of $350 million in revenue (2). Closing California’s parks is a terrible idea. I encourage you to join the fight to keep California’s parks open.

(1) California Department of Parks and Recreation. Retrieved August 10, 2009, from Wikipedia Web site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Department_of_Parks_and_Recreation

(2) Rogers, Paul (2009, May, 29). Schwarzenegger proposes closing 80 percent of California state parks, Retrieved August 10, 2009, from http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_12495868

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More Information can be found on the following websites:

  • TAKE ACTION TO SAVE CALIFORNIA’S STATE PARKS
  • BUDGET:
  • By the People, For The People: The Work of the Civillian Conservation Corps in California State Parks, 1933 - 1941

    Title: By the People, For The People: The Work of the Civillian Conservation Corps in California State Parks, 1933 - 1941.

    Author: Engbeck, Joseph H.

    Publication: Sacramento : State of California, California State Parks, 2002

    Call No: CalDocs P155.C67

    Title: News & Views

    Publication: Sacramento : Dept. of Parks and Recreation

    SuDoc: CalDocs P155.N4

    News & Views
    California State Park System Stewardship Report

    Title: California State Park System Stewardship Report.

    Publication: State of California, Dept. of Parks and Recreation

    Call No: CalDocs P155.S8 1967/68

    Title: The Recreation and Leisure Industry's Contribution to California's Economy

    Publication: State of California, the Resources Agency, Dept. of Parks and Recreation

    SuDoc: CalDocs P155.R425

    The Recreation and Leisure Industry's Contribution to California's Economy
    California State Park System Plan 1980, draft

    Title: California State Park System Plan, 1980 : draft.

    Publication: California. Dept. of Parks and Recreation.

    Call No: CalDocs P155.P5a 1980 draft

    Other Resources
    San Juan Bautista State Historic Park CalDocs P155.P4 S26 1970
    Torrey Pines State Park CalDocs P155.P4 T37 1970
    Angel Island State Park CalDocs P155.P4 A5 1976
    Shasta State Historical Park CalDocs P155.P4 S35
    William B. Ide Adobe State Historical Park CalDocs P155.P4 W55 1975
    Richardson Grove State Park CalDocs P155.P4 R5 1970
    Humboldt Redwoods State Park CalDocs P155.P4 H9 1987
    Jack London State Historical Park CalDocs P155.P4 J3 1976
    Fort Humboldt State Historical Park CalDocs P155.P4 F65h 1989
    Standish Hickey State Recreational Area CalDocs P155.P4 S72 1987
    Sutters Fort State Historical Monument CalDocs P155.P4 S9 1964
    Marshall Gold Discovery State Historical Park CalDocs P155.P4 M37