• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Budget forces 70 Calif. state parks to close

May 13, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
As the summer vacation season approaches, some bad news from state officials: The Brown administration plans to close a quarter of all state parks because of California's budget crisis. The closures will impact everything from North Coast redwood groves to the Salton Sea.

Friday, officials revealed 70 of California's 278 state parks would be closed due to the state's current budget crisis. Services for the park system will be cut. The 70 parks will be closed as of July 1, 2012, according to Ruth Coleman, director of California State Parks.

"These were parks that had relatively low visitation and low revenues. We are actively seeking partners to try to find other entities to try to help run these parks and keep them open part-time or full-time," said Coleman.

The closures will save $11 million in the next fiscal year of 2011-12 and $22 million in the following year.

Now visitors hoping to go for a hike at Santa Susana Pass in Chatsworth will find "park closed" signs.

Seven parks in Southern California will be affected. Included in the list are McGrath State Beach near Oxnard and the Salton Sea, which is a popular bird-watching destination. In Sacramento, the Governor's Mansion will now be closed to visitors.

Despite 70 closures, 94 percent of existing revenue will be preserved. But for visitors who depend on parks, it's tough news to hear.

"It's really unfair because it's a great place to just say, 'Hey, I don't want to go to the mall and spend money, but let's go to the park instead so we can hang out there and cook a steak,' and now it's gone," said Chatsworth resident Darrel Wilson.


Load Comments