California legislators are considering closing 80 percent of the state’s park system to deal with the state’s $24.3 billion deficit. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger this week recommended closing 220 state parks to eliminate $70 million in parks spending through June 30, 2010.
The state parks department said a $70 million cut would leave it with enough money to run just 59 of California’s 279 state parks.
Among the 220 parks that could be closed are Lake Tahoe’s Emerald Bay, Will Rogers’ Southern California ranch and Humboldt Redwoods State Park, which contains the world’s largest tree. The California Governor’s mansion is also on the proposed closure list.
"Things that were previously dead on arrival are a lot more viable in a crisis like this," said Democrat Jared Huffman, chairman of the Assembly’s parks and wildlife committee. "I think some cuts are coming to the parks, and they’ll be cuts I won’t like and the public won’t like."
The California legislature is holding hearings this week as it considers these proposed cuts to the state parks budget along with cuts to health care and education.
Outdoor Industry Association is preparing a letter to legislators raising concern about the repercussions of closing the vast majority of the state park system. Companies interested in signing the letter should contact Amy Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org.