The LAist got its hands on some concrete information from California State Parks Director Ruth Coleman on the recently passed budget, and it’s pretty shocking, according to The Modern Hiker, a Southern california hiking blog written by Casey Shreiner.
According to Coleman, with all of the money-shuffling, fund-raiding, furloughs, and reduced tax revenues in the 2009-2010 budget, California’s State Parks are actually getting short-changed by about $39 million, which will almost definitely guarantee a list of park closures that’s more on the high end of the spectrum.
Coleman did not say if any parks were closing, and won’t for at least a month, but she did say that parks that are already self-funding or turning a profit will stay open. All camping reservations at state parks will be honored through Labor Day, but after that – who knows?
Revenues from parking, entrance and camping fees will make a huge difference – which spells bad news for Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The largest state park in the lower 48 states – and one of this site’s favorite hiking and camping areas – doesn’t charge entry fees and allows free camping in the backcountry and undeveloped sites. That makes it an incredibly open and accessible park, but also puts a giant red bullseye on it for budgetary purposes.
Next year, state parks may face an additional $22 million cut, which is just plain horrible.
Coleman encouraged concerned citizens to start supporting their parks now, either through local, focused, non-profits (like Anza-Borrego’s Anza-Borrego Foundation) or by donating or volunteering directly. Any help you can give to one park means another park on the chopping block might be saved.