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11 state parks scheduled for closure will remain open

Mcgrath
California is still searching for a long-term solution to save several state parks but has reached temporary deals to keep 11 of them open.

"We're not considering these parks saved," said Jerry Emory, communications director of the California State Parks Foundation. "The long-term solution is a sustainable public funding source."

Private donors, foundations and other government entities have come forward with funding or operating agreements to keep the 11 parks open for one to three years, said Roy Stearns, deputy director of California State Parks.

The agency announced last year that the state's fiscal troubles would force it to shutter 70 of the 278 parks in the system. Most on the closure list are in Northern California and are less visited than parks in the densely populated south.

Of the 11 to remain open, the National Park Service is providing money and staff at three parks that border federal units: Del Norte Coast Redwoods, Samuel P. Taylor and Tomales Bay.

The Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve will remain open under an agreement with the nonprofit Bodie Foundation, which plans to start charging parking fees at the reserve. An anonymous donor is covering the operating costs of the Antelope Valley Indian Museum near Lancaster. And Silicon Valley entrepreneur J. Daniel McCranie is donating most of the $900,000 needed to keep the Bay Area's Henry W. Coe park open for three years.

Other parks spared for now are the Colusa-Sacramento River State Recreation Area, McGrath State Beach in Oxnard, South Yuba River, Jug Handle State Natural Reserve and Plumas-Eureka.

The system's operating and maintenance budget has fallen to $110 million for the next fiscal year from $175 million five years ago.

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-- Bettina Boxall

Photo: McGrath State Beach in Oxnard will remain open under temporary deal. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

 
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