The Ladies' Tea Guild

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

California State Park System to be closed!

Countryside. Image from
I just received word of this situation: beginning today, if all goes as Governor Schwarzenegger has planned, the California Legislature will cut the State Park system completely out of the California state budget by July 2010! This represents our state government's attitude toward California's historic and natural heritage ...

The State Park system receives $143 million -- less than 1/10 of 1% of the budget -- per year to support 279 parks spread throughout California, and the effect of this budget cut would be drastic. Most parks aren't receiving enough funding as it is! Not only would it not return enough money to the state to make a difference in balancing the budget, but it would cause an estimated 80% of state parks to close completely, cutting off the seasonal income that comes with tourists who visit the parks. Every dollar in State Park funding returns more than $2 to the state in the form of taxes and fees! In 2008 the State Park system saw about 80 million visitors, and with the recession shrinking everyone's travel budgets, that number is expected to increase this year.

We forget that many of our beaches and recreational areas, as well as many California missions and areas like Columbia State Historic Park and Candlestick Point are all part of the California State Park system, and will be closed to the public sometime this year. Countless California elementary school students have to travel to the Missions and state parks to complete their studies, and this will be impossible once the missions, Monterey Historic Park, Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, Fort Ross, and even the California State Capitol Museum are closed. Not to mention Big Basin Redwoods, Angel Island, Half Moon Bay State Beach, Hearst San Simeon State Park, Monterey and Natural Bridges State Beaches, and the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. If you want a full list of parks that will close, visit the State Park website at

It looks like there is a letter-writing campaign that began back in May, and I don't know if it's still officially running, but maybe more e-mails, letters and calls will make a difference. Apparently the parks lose half of their funding today, and the rest of it within 12 months; only 20% of the state parks have other sources of revenue and are expected to reduce personnel, hours, and accessibility, but be able to stay open. *sigh* This situation is not the fault of the state giving too much money to the State Parks; it's the fault of big-shot politicians of both parties who sit in their offices in Sacramento and line their own and each others' pockets! Cutting politicians' paychecks and bonuses would go farther towards balancing the budget than cutting the entire State Park system out of the General Fund! I don't like to get into politics too much, but if you'd like to be able to vacation in the state of California this summer, and want to give California politicians a piece of your mind, you can find more information, including their contact info., at this website:

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Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)