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California State Parks Announces 70 Park Closures

Closure Plan Preserves Majority of System’s Attendance and Revenue

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By: California State Parks

May 13, 2011 - California State Parks today announced a plan to close up to 70 of its 278 parks (see attachment) due to budget cuts. The closures are necessary to achieve an $11 million reduction in the next fiscal year 2011/12, and $22 million in the following fiscal year 2012/13. These cuts were mandated by AB 95, which was passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. in March.

"We regret closing any park," said Ruth Coleman, director of California State Parks, "but with the proposed budget reductions over the next two years, we can no longer afford to operate all parks within the system."

"These cuts are unfortunate, but the state's current budget crisis demands that tough decisions be made," said Resources Secretary John Laird. "Hopefully, Republicans in the legislature will agree to allow California voters to decide whether we extend currently existing taxes or make deeper cuts to our parks."

State Parks had three primary goals for developing the closure methodology (see attachment): (1) protect the most significant natural and cultural resources, (2) maintain public access and revenue generation to the greatest extent possible and (3) protect closed parks so that they remain attractive and usable for potential partners. The methodology was included in the budget bill approved by the Legislature and the governor in March.

Despite the large number of parks identified for closure, at least 92% of today's attendance will be retained, 94% of existing revenues will be preserved, and 208 parks will remain open. State Parks believes the methodology developed preserves and protects parks critical to the mission, which provide for the diversity of experiences wanted by visitors across the state. For instance, State Parks has a variety of state historic parks, state beaches, state recreation areas, state nature reserves and state parks and most of the parks in all categories will remain open to serve the diverse preferences of park visitors.

"With this announcement, we can begin to seek additional partnership agreements to keep open as many parks as possible," added Coleman. "We already have 32 operating agreements with our partners – cities, counties and non-profits – to operate state parks, and will be working statewide to expand that successful template."

Park Closures to Meet 2011/12-2012/13 General Fund Reductions

Anderson Marsh SHP

Annadel SP

Antelope Valley Indian Museum

Austin Creek SRA

Bale Grist Mill SHP

Benbow Lake SRA

Benicia Capitol SHP

Benicia SRA

Bidwell Mansion SHP

Bothe-Napa Valley SP

Brannan Island SRA

California Mining & Mineral Museum

Candlestick Point SRA

Castle Crags SP

Castle Rock SP

China Camp SP

Colusa-Sacramento River SRA

Del Norte Coast Redwoods SP

Fort Humboldt SHP

Fort Tejon SHP

Garrapata SP

George J. Hatfield SRA

Governor's Mansion SHP

Gray Whale Cove SB

Greenwood SB

Grizzly Creek Redwoods SP

Hendy Woods SP

Henry W. Coe SP

Jack London SHP

Jug Handle SNR

Leland Stanford Mansion SHP

Limekiln SP

Los Encinos SHP

Malakoff Diggins SHP

Manchester SP

McConnell SRA

McGrath SB

Mono Lake Tufa SNR

Morro Strand SB

Moss Landing SB

Olompali SHP

Palomar Mountain SP

Petaluma Adobe SHP

Picacho SRA

Pio Pico SHP

Plumas-Eureka SP

Point Cabrillo Light Station

Portola Redwoods SP

Providence Mountains SRA

Railtown 1897 SHP

Russian Gulch SP

Saddleback Butte SP

Salton Sea SRA

Samuel P. Taylor SP

San Pasqual Battlefield SHP

Santa Cruz Mission SHP

Santa Susana Pass SHP

Shasta SHP

South Yuba River SP

Standish-Hickey SRA

Sugarloaf Ridge SP

Tomales Bay SP

Tule Elk SNR

Turlock Lake SRA

Twin Lakes SB

Weaverville Joss House SHP

Westport-Union Landing SB

William B. Ide Adobe SHP

Woodson Bridge SRA

Zmudowski SB

Total Park Closures: 70

Park Closure Methodology: Factors Considered

Statewide Significance: The statewide significance of the parks based on the department's established lists of Outstanding and Representative Parks as well as the California State History Plan and the California State Parks

Survey of 1928 (authored by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.).

Visitation: In order to protect public access.

Fiscal Strength: Estimated net savings from closure for each unit.

Ability to Physically Close: Some units are easily closed to public access while others cannot be physically closed.

Existing Partnerships: Units with substantial concession operations and/or non-profit support.

Infrastructure: Some units suffer from unstable infrastructure (primarily water and wastewater treatment facilities). Recent or proposed Capital Outlay investments were also considered.

Land Use Restrictions: Known deed restrictions and grant requirements. Parks will continue to work with the National Park Service to protect access to our Land and Water Conservation Fund parks.

 

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