In what’s become an annual crisis, the California Department of Parks and Recreation today released a list of 70 parks across the state slated to be closed.
We counted 15 open space parks in the Bay Area (not including some historic buildings in Benicia and Petaluma).
In a release sent out around noon on Friday, May 13, parks director Ruth Coleman said, “We regret closing any park, but with the proposed budget reductions over the next two years, we can no longer afford to operate all parks within the system.”
She also is quoted as saying, “With this announcement, we can begin to seek additional partnership agreements to keep open as many parks as possible.”
For the past several years, the state has released lists of dozens of parks slated for closure. Many of those closures have been averted, though services and hours of operation have often been reduced.
However, the California State Parks Foundation warns that this is “the first comprehensive list of closures that will be fully implemented.”
What’s different this time around?
We asked foundation spokesperson Jerry Emory. “In the past, there was a lot of posturing there,” he said. “They were serious threats, but a lot of posturing. But now two or three years later, with the economy continuing to tank and the state budget being what it is, the word now is that it’s going to happen. We don’t think there’s a possibility of being able to negotiate this down.”
Get updates on the issue at the parks foundation’s website: calparks.org.