Monday, June 8, 2009

Schwarzenegger proposes to close 220 of 279 California state parks!

Sunrays through Coastal Forest, Point Lobos State Reserve, California 2009

Sunrays through Coastal Forest,
Point Lobos State Reserve, California 2009

1/10 sec at f/22, focal length: 17mm, ISO 100, Aperture Priority, -1 1/3 EV
- February 7, 2009 1:57pm PST. Photographed with Canon EOS 20D, EF 17-40mm f/4L, Tripod Mounted

80% of California's state parks are in danger of being closed due to the Governor's attempts to close California's budget deficit. Arnold has proposed to cut over $200 million dollars of state general fund money to state parks which would push the aforementioned amount of parks into "closure" as well as upwards of 1500 state employees to be laid off.

Cutting the funds may theoretically be a good idea to help close the state deficit if there were a solid plan already in place that would allow the parks themselves to generate enough income to sustain their expenses such as raising entry and camping fees, or raising car registration $10/year per vehicle and allowing free entry to California residents (as proposed by a former state legislator and would have raised $260 million for state parks). The problem, though, with this drastic cut resulting in parks closing just after Labor day, is that parks can't really close. The state will just be reducing supervision and protection. Gates and bathrooms will be padlocked but visitors will have no boundaries and could easily walk in. Then vandalism and poaching will most certainly follow.

If you live in California you should use this link to write a message to the Governor and your state legislators that you want the parks to be kept open! The Sierra Club has made this form very quick and easy to fill out so please do take a minute and send this message. Here's the link again.

You could also write to the editors of your local paper and encourage them to write a story and raise public awareness of the situation. You might even consider "donating" an image taken in your favorite state park to help illustrate the story and maybe encourage the editor that much more to push it along.

And as to the image posted here. This was taken at Point Lobos, one of my personal favorite state parks. It also happens to be on the list of parks to be closed. If you'd like to view the full list of parks to be closed, you can do so here.
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