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Still Mystery Regarding Which State Parks Will Close

Sacramento, CA — As part of the new budget heading to Governor Schwarzenegger’s desk, around 30-50 state parks will be forced to close because of $8 million in cuts.

Just eight weeks ago, the Governor had proposed that 220 be shut down.

"Parks didn’t come out unscathed in this budget, but they were pretty much able to escape the dismantling that had been proposed earlier this year," says Traci Verardo-Torres of the California State Parks Foundation. "Frankly we’re a little bit worried about what next year has to offer given how difficult the state’s finances are and how labored it was for the legislature to come to an agreement about the budget."

Verardo-Torres expects the state to release a closure list in the coming weeks. Railtown 1897, Columbia State Historic Park and Calaveras Big Trees State Park were among the initial 220, but it is not known if any will make the final list.

"Certainly there was a great effort at Calaveras Big Trees, Railtown and Columbia to get regular visitors and out of town tourists to sign petitions and communicate to lawmakers," adds Verardo-Torres. "That had an impact, because lawmakers never underestimate the power of voters and people who spend money in local communities."

The criteria for selecting which parks will still close has not been made public by the state, but attendance figures and revenue are expected to be factors.

Written by bjhansen@mlode.com.