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Cost to pack park artifacts will cut savings

April 9, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Officials say artifacts from several California state parks on the closure list will have to be catalogued and packed away, which will cut into the money saved by closing the parks.

Many state parks are more than just open spaces. They include historic houses, museums and exhibits full of items.

Among them are rare crystalline gold nuggets at the California Mining and Minerals Museum in Mariposa, painting masterworks showing early 20th century San Francisco street scenes and coastal landscapes at Shasta State Historical Park, and the writer Jack London's home and writing memorabilia in Sonoma County.

Just months before the unprecedented planned closures, California officials are working to catalog these important pieces of state history so they can undertake a massive packing, moving and storage effort should a deal not be reached to save the parks.

If the state does have to move the delicate items, it does not currently know how much it will cost to pay for packing and long-term storage.

California operates 278 parks on 1.3 million acres. On July 1, 70 of the parks are slated to close to save an annual $11 million. Officials say they are unsure how many on its closure list will remain open through partnerships. Currently the parks department has inked deals with nonprofits and other entities to keep 11 sites open, and 24 more parks have early-stage negotiations in process that officials caution are no sure thing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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