Jun 25, 2009

Wear Green - For Our Parks

While half a world away a nation is struggling to resolve whether it'll have its old conservative, autocratic government or a new(ish), slightly less conservative and autocratic one, we have some problems over here on our own shores.

Everyone knows California is in deep doo-doo. We ran out of money, in the hole for, oh, about $24 billion. There will be big budget cuts and they will all hurt, but there is at least one that doesn't make any sense at all: Legislators plant to shut down 220 out of 279 of California's state parks. Which would account for a whopping 0.62% of that budget gap. Even less if you count in that it would also cut the income that the state parks directly generate. Also hurt would be numerous local economies that would lose income from tourists attracted by and to state parks. Overall the loss to the California economy is likely to be bigger than the savings to the budget. It's nonsensical.

Additionally, the closure promised to be temporary (I would sure hope so), but reopening, restarting parks that have been without maintenance for some time could prove far more costly than maintaining them. There is another aspect to this that is hard to put a price tag on. Our parks are our treasures. The closure would mean that iconic places, like the big redwood forests, beaches, camp grounds, deserts and all sorts of wilderness areas we take for granted would become off-limits to all of us.

There have been one proposal to cover the cost of park maintenance: A once-a-year $15 charge added to license fees of non-commercial vehicles in California. To me that seems like a great deal.

If you care at all what happens to our park you might want to visit the California State Parks Foundation website or facebook page.

A few articles to read:

State Parks on Chopping Block - video - Wall Street Journal

Closing California State Parks: Is this the answer to the budget crisis?

Proposed California state parks closure list includes Calaveras Big Trees: Locals anxious

Proposed state parks closure list is not for the faint of heart - LA Times

State parks access pass might be key to preventing their closure - LA Times

15 comments:

Jennifer said...

I agree, that sounds like a greater loss than California can handle.

altadenahiker said...

I'll certainly do whatever I can. Our state and national parks mean the world to me. $15 a year, are you kidding? But how much of this is cage rattling, because the parks must bring in lots of revenue, don't you think?

Kulguy said...

wow. i cant believe this is happening. i am from Puerto Rico and we also have a lot of protected areas that i would hate to see closed. i am studying zoology and plan to delve into ecology as well so hearing about this has already got me riled up. if i lived in california i would be a lot more active, but its kinda hard to do anything from 3000 miles away. its truly upsetting...

Vanda said...

Upsetting indeed.

K, doesn't look at all like cage rattling. It's looking worse and worse by day. And apparently California is not the only one doing it. Madness.

mllegramophone said...

YAY!

Miss Havisham's Tea Party said...

That's a YAY for your post and not for the threat against the parks. I mean, I'm a camper. I have to have a place to pitch my tent and spit me tobaccy.

Subversively yours,

Cafe Pasadena said...

I think CA will get some bailout cash. DC can't let CA go down the toilet. CA leads & so the resta nation would so follow the same fate.

btw, MH, let MG speak for himself.

Mesina said...

Wow, having spent a lot time in Cali as a youth and a bit in my early adulthood, I can safely voice what a loss this would be to the grand state. So many people will lose out, not just on the beauty of California's gorgeous parks but as you mentioned the locals who thrive on such tourism. Thanks for the post, being an American in Europe I don't always get the news on what's happening on a more local scale. Great post!

pasadenaadjacent said...

"On Monday, June 24th, the California State Legislature unsuccessfully attempted to pass a state budget. Budget negotiations are now in the hands of the "Big 5"- the Republican and Democratic leaders in both the Assembly and the Senate and the Governor. Please help us urge the "Big 5" to seek a creative solution that will provide adequate revenue to keep our state parks open and accessible to all Californians."

There is something we can do..........


go to this link and find out

altadenahiker said...

thanks pa. I sent it off and will post it at my site as well.

Vanda said...

I got an automated email back from Arnie telling me to go stuff myself.

altadenahiker said...

Vanda! Have you taken the trail from Echo Mountain to Mount Lowe? that's one of my favorite stretches. And have you been up Chaney Trail?

(I didn't bother to read the auto's)

altadenahiker said...

Here's another great one: Take Santa Anita Rd in Arcadia up to the mountains, and then you can hike Santa Anita Canyon trails. They're gorgeous, and there's a waterfall.

You need either a Wilderness Pass to park, or you can pay the outpost to park there. I'm going to buy a WP in any case, just to support the park system.

J&D said...

 

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Jean Spitzer said...

I guess the parks fate is currently being decided. I hope they can stay open--or at least, somewhat protected, if they are among those officially closed. Any closure seems like a counter-productive move economically.