State Parks Crisis

California’s state park system is the largest and most diverse natural and cultural heritage holdings in the nation. Yet the century-and-a-half-old system has been in perpetual crisis mode for several decades, battered about by funding shortfalls and repeated threats of closures. How California parks — from redwood forests to coastal bluffs and historic monuments — will continue to survive is a story that ardent citizen supporters are striving to determine.

Latest from State Parks Crisis

First to the finish line: Jack London State Park

May 02, 2012 by Joan Hamilton

For the past 35 years, Valley of the Moon Natural History Association has been helping greet and educate visitors at the Jack London State Historic Park in Sonoma County.As of May 1, however, it’s taken charge of the whole park: 1,400 acres, 10,000 artifacts, and more than a dozen historic buildings.

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Despite promise of developer funds, Candlestick Point will close

April 25, 2012 by Christine Sculati

Candlestick Point State Recreation Area in southeast San Francisco is California's first urban state park, and offers city-dwellers a slice of nature along the Bay. State budget cuts landed it on the list of park closures, even though a massive redevelopment project next door promises to deliver $50 million to Candlestick.

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Rural Refuge in the Redwoods

April 19, 2012 by Joan Hamilton

For residents and businesses in the Anderson Valley, 845-acre Hendy Woods State Park has an importance far beyond its size. It’s one of few public open spaces in this mostly rural region, and now residents are doing their best to make a plan to keep the park open.

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McGrath’s Army Takes Back the Beach

April 17, 2012 by Joan Hamilton

McGrath State Beach has plenty of visitors and plenty of revenue. So how did it end up on the closure list? The park’s sewer line was broken, and the state couldn’t afford to fix it. But the local community rallied around the park, raised the money to fix the sewer, and now the park will stay open.

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Saving Mono Lake State Reserve

April 16, 2012 by Joan Hamilton

If any landscape can be called iconic, Mono Lake surely makes the cut. But with no revenue, the state park here faced closure--until John Muir’s great-great-grandson joined with local park supporters to rescue the park. With a new parking fee in place, the park is safe, for now.

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Lifeline from the Feds

April 10, 2012 by Joan Hamilton

Samuel P. Taylor State Park in Marin is a popular destination for many of the millions of people who live within a short drive of this secluded redwood forest. With the park facing closure, the National Park Service stepped in to pay park operating costs.

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State Parks Crisis: Get Involved!

April 01, 2012 by Kelly Hackett

We’ve rounded up the key links you need to plug into the movement to save California’s state parks.

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The Parks and the People

April 01, 2012 by Joan Hamilton

Some 70 state parks were scheduled to be closed on July 1, 2012. But determined action by park-loving citizens around the state has succeeded in getting some parks removed from that list and has opened a discussion of the relationship between public parks and the people they serve. We visit four parks around the state to see what the future might hold for our beloved, but beleaguered, state parks.

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A streak of silver in state parks cloud

March 30, 2012 by Joan Hamilton

In the first few months after California announced its park closures in May 2011, park advocates were stunned and outraged. The state was tearing down 25 percent of a world-renowned system—70 parks in all. Almost a year later, the state parks closure cloud still looms, big and black. But dozens of small victories and individual acts of courage are adding a silver lining.

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A blogger’s mission to save state parks

March 28, 2012 by Paul Epstein

It started out as a patriotic effort to show fellow citizens what they didn't know they were missing before it was gone. But in her mission to visit and blog about every California state park on the closure list, Lucy D'Mot also discovered some things about herself. "I feel like maybe I missed my calling earlier in life, to be a little more out in the outdoors," she said.

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