Most State Parks Spared -- For Now
Among California's treasures to be targeted by budget cutters' machetes are its state parks.
However, it looks as though most of the parks will remain open until at least the end of the year. At one point it was feared that many parks on a 220-site hit list, which included 13 L.A.-area parks, would be shut down. According to the L.A. Times, the economic package worked out between Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the legislature calls for the state parks system to lose $70 million -- about half its current budget. However, lawmakers were able to find $62 million in other funds to keep the system relatively healthy through next year.
There will be some closures, though, but exactly which parks will be padlocked is something that will worked out in the weeks to come. One place to definitely go, the Sacramento Bee reports, is the Bodie mining ghost town tucked in the Eastern Sierras. The announcement of its shut-down came weeks ago, before the current budget fix was finalized. An important technical aspect that has not been explained is what exactly will happen to the parks that are shuttered. Will some former federal parks, as has been suggested, revert to U.S. control? What security forces will be in place to keep out trespassers who could ignite fires, or to prevent marijuana farmers from virtually turning the abandoned parks into pot plantations?