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220 State Parks Could Close

Sonora, CA — Calaveras Big Trees State Park, Railtown 1897 and Columbia State Historic Park are all on the list of 220 that Governor Schwarzenegger is proposing be closed down after Labor Day.

Railtown 1897 Park Superintendent Kim Baker says, “Closing Railtown would not save the state very much money, we calculate around $300,000 in savings. But it would have a huge impact on the local communities that depend on the tourist dollars that come in.”

In light of a record $23.4 billion deficit, Schwarzenegger is proposing to eliminate $70 million in parks spending through June 30, 2010. Another $143.4 million would be saved the following fiscal year if the parks stay closed.

The California State Parks Foundation has come out in opposition, and claims that California gets a $2.35 return for every dollar it spends on parks. Only 59 of the state’s 279 state parks would remain open under the Governor’s plan.

The legislature would have to approve the closures. 

Written by bjhansen@mlode.com.