California State Parks in Trouble

Spring at China Camp State Park
Spring at China Camp State Park

(Picture updated April 13, 2010) April 20 Update: My understanding, based on a news report last night, is that the measure has qualified for the November Ballot. A ballot measure is being proposed to protect the State Parks. Here’s a quote from the press release: The ballot measure would protect state parks and conserve wildlife by establishing the State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund in the state treasury where, by law, it could only be spent on state parks, urban river parkways, wildlife, natural lands and ocean conservation programs. Funding for the Trust Fund would come from an $18 annual State Park Access Pass surcharge on all California vehicles, including motorcycles and recreational vehicles. Larger commercial vehicles, mobile homes and permanent trailers would be exempt. Vehicles subject to the surcharge would receive free, year round admission to all state parks throughout the year. Californians will no longer pay day-use fees at any state parks. In comparison, park visitors currently pay up to $125 for an annual pass or $10-$15 per day at most parks. Out-of-state vehicles would continue to pay full entrance fees at parks. You can learn more here.

Oct. 27th update: The Governator announces just what will happen with the parks. Turns out, he doesn’t say what he means. Here’s a quote from the Chronicle: “Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger decreed last month that no parks would be shuttered, but the $14.2 million he cut out of the state parks budget means many of the 278 parks in California will be open only on weekends and almost all will have to endure partial closures.” Read the entire article in the Chronicle.

This just in: Some brilliant folks in Sacramento figured out there’s no real way to close most of the parks. So, they are not going to close them “completely.” See this article in the SF Chronicle. The Parks still need your help. Don’t put your checkbook away just yet. Click on a link below and help our parks.

Due to budget problems – and some gratuitous  cuts in the budget by the Governator, our State Parks are in serious trouble.  As of now, it appears around 100 parks will be closed.  This makes little sense.  Consider these facts(Thanks to the San Mateo Coast Natural History Association):

FACT: The General Fund budget that state parks receive account for less than 1/10 of one percent of the entire state budget.

FACT: Last year alone, there were over 80 million visitors to state parks – and all indications are that this year was going to be even higher.

FACT: For every dollar that funds the parks, $2.35 is returned to the state’s General Fund through economic activities in the communities surrounding the parks.

But no matter if it makes sense or not, it’s going to happen.  The only way to save our parks is for you, yes YOU, to get involved.  Read this editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle.

OK, get out your checkbook and contact one of these organizations:
The San Mateo Coast Natural History Association
The California State Parks Foundation
The San Mateo County Parks Foundation

Note, my special interest here is that I find the San Mateo Coast to be a beautiful place. It’s a wonderful place, with or without my camera. So I want to save it. Yes, for myself but also for others. And, you might note that there is little chance that the SM Coast Parks will be fenced off. There is no way to keep people off the beaches so the Parks will just end up being trashed.  Also note, there are many parks, north and south of here that are threatened also.  I’m not familiar with those parks so it’s up to you to get involved and save them.