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