Californians are expressing disbelief as they hear of Governor Schwarzenegger's proposal to close 80% of all state parks and beaches, from San Simeon State Park near Hearst Castle to Humboldt Redwoods, Railtown 1897 and Mt. Diablo, and 200+ more.
Virtually every household in California (98%) visits a park each year; 2 in every 3 households visit a park each month, and 50% participate in a park recreation program every year, according to a new study conducted for the California Park & Recreation Society. “We knew Californians love parks, (yet) no one imagined the importance they attribute to their parks and recreation,” said CPRS Executive Director, Jane H. Adams.
Noted in the study: "It is clear from this study that these spaces, places, facilities and services are an essential component of the everyday lives of Californians and of millions of visitors to the state. One of the most powerful revelations was that Californians see parks as making their communities better places to live. The CPRS survey found that Californians equate a better place to live with access to serenity and nature, outdoor spaces for play for children and adults alike, facilities for group sports, and lower levels of juvenile crime because of positive recreational alternatives.”
Among the targeted parks are attractions popular with school classes, including Topanga State Park, Sutter's Fort State Historic Park in Sacramento and Pio Pico State Historic Park in Whittier. Nearly 50 parks, beaches and historic sites in the greater San Francisco Bay Area would be affected, including Mount Tamalpais, Angel Island and Big Sur. In the Lake Tahoe region, among the parks on the closure list are Donner, Sugar Pine Point, D.L. Bliss, Emerald Bay and others. Click here for the list of endangered parks.
Thousands of employees will be laid off, and nearby stores and towns will suffer economic disaster, as they lose the more than $2 billion that park visitors spend on camping gear, food, gas, lodging, and other recreational goods and services. For every dollar that funds the parks, $2.35 is returned to the state's General Fund through economic activities in surrounding communities; means that closing the parks could actually result in the state losing over $350 million dollars in revenue. For instance, the closure of Armstrong Redwoods State Park would result in an economic loss to Sonoma County between $51 and $78 million annually, according to the Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods.
What can you do to help save California parks?
1. Go to www.calparks.org/takeaction and fill in its automated form.
2. Join the campaign on the California State Park Foundation's Facebook channel.
3. Send letters to your legislators and the governor, to your assemblyperson, state senator, local newspapers and not-so-local newspapers, and ask you friend to do the sam (be sure to offer constructive suggestions). Save the Redwoods League offers an online message system.
4. Upload a 1-minute video on the YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/savetheredwoods to let people know what you think.