No California state parks will close, Gov. Schwarzenegger announces
Just months after the state threatened to close 100 parks because of budget cuts, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced a plan today that will keep all parks open by instead reducing maintenance, administrative staff and some facilities’ hours.
The governor had cut $14.2 million from the parks budget as part of an effort to close a $60-billion budget shortfall, and parks officials said the reduction would force the closure of up to 100 state parks. That sparked an outcry from the public and pressure from environmental groups to reconsider.
Schwarzenegger said today that Parks and Recreation Department and state finance officials have come up with an alternative plan to keep all the parks open, with a reduction of the hours or days of operation at most of them.
The plan means that in many cases restrooms might be cleaned only once each day, some facilities will close weekdays and be open on weekends and holidays, and portions of a park, such as a back loop of a campground, may close part of the week.
Other parks that already close because of seasonal conditions may see a longer closure.
Details were not yet released on which parks will see reductions in the hours and days of operation.
"Working closely with my departments of Finance and Parks and Recreation, we have successfully found a way to avoid closing parks this year,” Schwarzenegger said. “This is fantastic news for all Californians.”
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento
Photo: Pio Pico State Historic Park in Whittier, which was threatened with closure. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times