The Los Angeles Times recently reported that 11 of the state parks originally slated for closure in California will receive temporary reprieves. Non-profits and private donors have stepped up to provide the funds necessary to keep these parks open to you and me, at least for a few years.[1] 

Not only that, but the State Department of Parks and Recreation has said that “discussions are under way to save at least another 35 [state parks],” according to a recent article by the Associated Press.[2]

This is great news, but we aren’t out of the woods yet. Click here to sign the petition to save ALL of our state parks.  

Advocates for California’s state parks have shown remarkable ingenuity in the quest to stave off park closures ever since it was announced that a quarter of California’s state parks would close on July 1, 2012, as a result of budget cuts prescribed by the Governor. When AB 42 passed the state legislature last year, the path was cleared for non-profit organizations and local or federal governments to operate state parks. Now, the gates at a number of beloved state parks could remain open to the public as operating agreements are put down in ink for remarkable places like Samuel P. Taylor in Marin and Jug Handle on the North coast. So feel free to check those places out for a 4th of July barbeque.

If over 40 reprieves truly come to pass, it could be a huge boost for the campaign to save California’s state parks for good. That’s because when state parks close and are left abandoned, reopening them costs much more: If most of the parks slated for closure can be kept open for just a few years it will make our work to keep the state park system in tact that much easier.

These reprieves are a huge victory and a testament to the love that Californians hold for their local state parks, but we cannot let up the pressure for our parks yet.

At Environment California, we have said all along that the solution to park closures is a dedicated funding source in our state budget which will guarantee that our state park system—which draws over 65 million visitors every year and generates billions in revenue—remains a shining example of preservation and the vibrant tourist attraction that it has always been.

We will continue the campaign to keep all 279 of California’s state parks open, by bringing together thousands of Californians, state park groups, local businesses and elected officials to call on our state government to protect our parks, not abandon them. In the meantime, the temporary reprieves that are springing up at parks all across the state are buying us a little time.

  

          

[1] Boxall, Bettina. “11 State Parks Scheduled for Closure Will Remain Open.” Los Angeles Times. March 28, 2012. Print

[2] Thompson, Don. “Officials: Majority of State Parks Could Stay Open.” Associated Press. March 27, 2012. Web