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It’s Official; All State Parks To Remain Open

Sacramento, CA — Governor Schwarzenegger made the announcement this afternoon that all state parks in California will remain open until at least June 30, 2010.

Here in the Mother Lode that means that Railtown 1897 and Columbia State Historic Park in Tuolumne County and Big Trees State Park in Calaveras County no longer face the threat of potential closure.

The original plan was to cut the state parks’ budget by $14.2 million this fiscal year and then an additional $22 million for each of the next two years. According to Public Information Officer Roy Stearns of the State Parks Department the Governor’s Office then asked the state parks if it could keep all parks open if only the first year of the original proposal, the $14.2 million reduction, was executed. The department answered in the affirmative. 

It was agreed upon that reductions would be made in the following areas: regarding maintenance and equipment; reduce ongoing maintenance for the remainder of 2009-10 and eliminate all major equipment purchases such as vehicle replacements. The savings is estimated at $12.1 million.

Regarding service reductions; reducing hours and/or days of operation at most state park units, reducing expenditures on seasonal staff, reducing staffing and operations at Park Headquarters. The savings are estimated at $2.1 million.

Examples of service reductions include 1) some facilities will close weekdays and be open on weekends and holidays, 2) portions of a unit may be closed such as the backloop of a campground, 3) for a park with multiple campgrounds one whole campground or day use facility may be closed while the rest of the park remains open and 4) parks that already close due to seasonal conditions may see a longer closure.

Service reductions will be planned to minimize disruptions to visitors, achieve cost savings and maintain park fee revenues.

Written by bill.johnson@mlode.com