California State Parks: Salton Sea, Palomar on list of possible shutdowns

Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger

Come fall, Californians could find themselves with fewer parks to visit and fewer services available at parks that are open. That was the tenor of the plan that California State Parks officials outlined Friday as they targeted for shutdown 70 of the state’s 278 parks because of budget problems.

But don’t panic. The closure plan is far from final, and in the meantime, summer camping reservations are being honored, officials said.

Several parks on the hit list are in Southern California, including popular and well-known places such as:

McGrath State Beach near Ventura, which draws campers and bird-watchers;


Fort Tejon State Historic Park in the Grapevine Canyon north of Los Angeles, with restored adobes and exhibits on Army life;

Palomar Mountain State Park in San Diego County, near the world-famous Palomar Observatory, which offers mountainous hiking trails with views of the Pacific;

And the quirky and fascinating Salton Sea State Recreation Area in Riverside County, known for its bird life and infamous for its periodic mass die-offs of fish.

How likely are these cuts to happen? Anthony York writes on the L.A. Times’ PolitiCal blog:


“State lawmakers passed $33 million in parks cuts earlier this year, but [Gov. Jerry] Brown has not signed them into law. Whether the closures will be included in a final state budget this year is unclear, because the spending plan is still being negotiated. Administration officials said they do not intend to alter the parks budget further.”

On Monday, Brown is scheduled to announce his revised budget, along with new state revenue projections.

So stay tuned. If this does come to pass, the closures wouldn’t go into effect until September, said State Parks Director Ruth Coleman.

Coleman also raised the possibility of diminished services -- i.e., closing bathrooms, lifeguard towers and other facilities -- throughout the state park system to cut $11 million in the coming fiscal year and $22 million in the 2012-13 fiscal year. But the budget details haven’t been finalized.


Here’s the list of state parks, released Friday, that could be shut down:

  1. Anderson Marsh State Historic Park
  2. Annadel State Park
  3. Antelope Valley Indian Museum
  4. Austin Creek State Recreation Area
  5. Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park
  6. Benbow Lake State Recreation Area
  7. Benicia Capitol State Historic Park
  8. Benicia State Recreation Area
  9. Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park
  10. Bothe-Napa Valley State Park
  11. Brannan Island State Recreation Area
  12. California Mining & Mineral Museum
  13. Candlestick Point State Recreation Area
  14. Castle Crags State Park
  15. Castle Rock State Park
  16. China Camp State Park
  17. Colusa-Sacramento River State Recreation Area
  18. Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park
  19. Fort Humboldt State Historic Park
  20. Fort Tejon State Historic Park
  21. Garrapata State Park
  22. George J. Hatfield State Recreation Area
  23. Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park
  24. Gray Whale Cove State Beach
  25. Greenwood State Beach
  26. Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park
  27. Hendy Woods State Park
  28. Henry W. Coe State Park
  29. Jack London State Historic Park
  30. Jug Handle State Natural Reserve
  31. Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park
  32. Limekiln State Park
  33. Los Encinos State Historic Park
  34. Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park
  35. Manchester State Park
  36. McConnell State Recreation Area
  37. McGrath State Beach
  38. Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve
  39. Morro Strand State Beach
  40. Moss Landing State Beach
  41. Olompali State Historic Park
  42. Palomar Mountain State Park
  43. Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park
  44. Picacho State Recreation Area
  45. Pio Pico State Historic Park
  46. Plumas-Eureka State Park
  47. Point Cabrillo Light Station
  48. Portola Redwoods State Park
  49. Providence Mountains State Recreation Area
  50. Railtown 1897 State Historic Park
  51. Russian Gulch State Park
  52. Saddleback Butte State Park
  53. Salton Sea State Recreation Area
  54. Samuel P. Taylor State Park
  55. San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park
  56. Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park
  57. Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park
  58. Shasta State Historic Park
  59. South Yuba River State Park
  60. Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area
  61. Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
  62. Tomales Bay State Park
  63. Tule Elk State Natural Reserve
  64. Turlock Lake State Recreation Area
  65. Twin Lakes State Beach
  66. Weaverville Joss House State Historic Park
  67. Westport-Union Landing State Beach
  68. William B. Ide Adobe State Historic Park
  69. Woodson Bridge State Recreation Area
  70. Zmudowski State Beach