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State parks closure list is coming soon, but not eagerly anticipated

August 6, 2009 | 11:04 am

A king snake enjoys the view from a branch in Malibu Creek State Park.

California residents probably will learn within a few weeks how many state parks will close.

Because of extensive cuts in funding, 100 or more parks probably will be shut down, and when they might reopen is anyone's guess.

When the dreaded closure list does emerge and the specified parks become off-limits and begin to deteriorate, it'll be a sad day for residents who enjoy hiking, biking, horseback riding, bird-watching and animal viewing. It'll be just as dark a day for a state that presently boasts the nation's most extensive state parks system.

However, some other states are dealing with the same issue, and seeking creative ways to keep parks open. 

In Washington state, drivers who renew their license tabs in September will have the option of donating $5 to state parks. The contributions could generate about $22 million over the next two years and spare dozens of Washington's 125 state parks from being closed.

There was a fairly similar attempt in California. A state parks access pass would have placed a $15 surcharge on vehicle license fees for noncommercial vehicles. The general fund would have realized an estimated savings of about $143 million annually. But that plan failed and now we're in this hard place.

Outposts, barring a minor miracle that will prevent the closures, will share the closure list when it becomes available.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: A king snake enjoys the view from a branch in Malibu Creek State Park. Credit: Pete Thomas/Los Angeles Times

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