California’s budget passed Tuesday night by the Legislature still includes a plan, announced in May, to shutter about 70 state parks amid deep cuts made to education, courts and social programs. Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign the new budget before the new fiscal year starts Friday.
But don’t worry if you have camping reservations at any of those sites through the end of this year. Tentative plans are to postpone park closures until 2012 and refund campsite fees for reservations at parks that close, according to California State Parks spokesman Roy Stearns. Earlier, it was believed the shutdowns could start as early as autumn.
The hit list includes parklands up and down the state, from lush coastal redwoods at Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park in the north to the desert of Picacho State Recreation Area in Imperial County in the south to the funky formations at Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve east of Yosemite National Park.
Closer to Southern California, parks at the Salton Sea, Palomar Mountain near the renowned Palomar Observatory and several smaller historic state parks would be shut.
The parks department in a May 13 statement said that closing up to 70 of its 278 parks would help save $11 million in the next fiscal year and $22 million in 2012-13. The statement includes a Google map of parks expected to be shut down.