View Full Version : Wonderful provocative (short) piece on State Park Closures

08-24-2009, 15:35
I apologize if this is a repost. I really enjoyed this article and wanted to share it. The author makes some very good points, and has some great lines.

State may close park gates, but it won't keep me out
By Tom Stienstra

Logic gives you what you need. Passion gives you what you crave. In the end, it's passion that feeds your dreams or part of you dies.

When it comes to logic, it makes financial sense to keep all state parks open. Last year, state parks had 79.6 user visits that generated $2.6 billion in spending during those trips. For every dollar the state put into parks, it generated $2.35 in tax revenue.

Yet in his last-minute line-item budget cuts, Gov. Schwarzenegger slashed general fund money to state parks. That cut is equal to only one quarter of 1 percent of the state's $24.3 billion budget deficit, yet could close 100 parks starting in September.

When it comes to passion, I'll tell you this: Nobody is going to keep me out of the state parks. A lot of people feel exactly the same. We share one thing in common. We have spots in parks where we know "The Power of Place," where we are free of all cares. These spots make us whole.

One of these places for me is in the interior of Big Basin Redwoods State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains, at the brink of Silver Falls in Berry Creek Canyon. You can touch the water as it flows past and watch it sail over the cliff, then turn to your right and take in the lower cascade of Golden Falls, flowing like a giant golden water slide.

Big Basin Redwoods is one of the parks that probably will be on the list of park closures because loses money on offseason weekdays. But when the waterfalls flow in Berry Creek Canyon, I'm going. They can close Big Basin headquarters, gate the road and parking lots, put up no parking signs and have helicopter surveillance, but I'll go. I know the woods better than they do, and I defy them to catch me.

It's also my belief that the state's residents already own these parks, and we don't need somebody's OK to use what already belongs to us, within rules designed to prevent damage, of course.

Some time after Labor Day, the first closures will start. That is when the flow of user-fee money from day-use and camping always slows, especially on weekdays. The best estimates are 100 parks will get locked up this fall, possibly 25 in the Bay Area, and a lot more next year.

Parks avoiding closure will be those with OHV use and boat ramps, which are self-funding, and parks where local groups, and county or national park units step forward to help fund and run them.

The conflict will spark when the gates are locked and "park closed" signs go up, and people go anyway. You don't suddenly tell millions of people they can't go for a hike at their favorite parks.


08-24-2009, 15:56
Your post brought back a flood of memories - we went to Big Basin dozens of times when I was growing up in SoCal. It was always my favorite.

To your point - the parks belong to the people - period. that's why they were purchased from private owners, or set aside as public lands before they became private. It just doesn't see right to close public lands because the government doesn't have money to pay a park ranger. Leave them for the people.

I hope you enjoy your outing and don't you dare break a leg and need rescue!


08-24-2009, 16:49
As long as those who utilize state parks, in CA and elsewhere, allow the closures without taking appropriate action this type of behavior by politicians will continue. Write, call, or in some way make politicians know that this will not be tolerated and it will affect their political careers.

08-24-2009, 17:08
This is wrong on so many levels. What is Governor Schwarzenegger thinking?! Those parks are held in trust by the Government, FOR THE CITIZENS OF THIS NATION! (It won't affect just the citizens of California, or even only citizens from this Nation.) It is wrong to deprive the citizens of their parks. We cannot be whole living only in our artificially engineered environments. We need to be able to get out away from that, to stay true to ourselves. Some much more than others. Mr. Scharzenegger, these are not amusement parks, where you can lock the gates and tell people that the cost of operating the rides outweighed the profit coming in! You are wrong to think that closing the parks to the public is an option. Take a pay cut, and use that money to pay the rangers! Make good on this, and do what is right!

08-24-2009, 17:11
What are the channels to write to the California Government, including the Governor? I want a word or two with them...

Pedaling Fool
08-24-2009, 18:28
This will be happening all over the place and not just at the state level; the feds now have a $9 trillion deficit, don't be surprised when some national parks close or they find other ways to charge you.

Everyone is talking about all the positive signs indicating that the economy is recovering, problem is everyone forgets about our deficit, not to mention our debt; we've only created another bubble, the buzzards will be back to roost.

08-24-2009, 18:34
Their mistake is in thinking the nature parks are the same as amusment parks, luxury. When, for many they are a form of food for the soul. They may only go to them as a treat, and think of them that way because they are more cut off from nature than common citizens. They are not considering that for quite a few, going out hiking in the woods is one of the few ways we can afford ourselves to keep hope alive and nourish our spirits. I will write letters, if I can get some addresses (preferably e-mail) to write to.

08-24-2009, 18:35
Let em close State Parks.
They usually don't allow hammock camping; no State Parks...no rules. :banana

08-24-2009, 18:42
Let em close State Parks.
They usually don't allow hammock camping; no State Parks...no rules. :banana

I think I'm getting your meaning here, so I'll say: Except that by announcing the park closure they can and probably will arrest tresspassers found inside the parks...

08-24-2009, 18:47
I think I'm getting your meaning here, so I'll say: Except that by announcing the park closure they can and probably will arrest tresspassers found inside the parks...
True, still gonna have to be sneaky. :D

Pedaling Fool
08-24-2009, 18:53
True, still gonna have to be sneaky. :D
It'll be easy to sneak in and out, just don't break your thumb and think you can call in a med-evac:D

08-24-2009, 20:54
Around here (SW Ohio) they close parks all the time, usually city parks, often the ones with swimming pools, usually in areas where families cannot afford to own even a inflatable. Somehow they never close the golf corses, :confused:
Anyway, the kids still get in & swim. Yep, they keep the water in em, and the filters running, just no minimum wage staff.
So "Closing" a state park, or even a national park will keep out those that really didn't want to go anyway.
A few years ago they closed the shelters in SNP, "Due to budget cuts that reduced staffing" (Rangers?) But to keep hikers out of the closed shelters, I believe they had to add staff to patrol the shelters. Um, your government at work. :p

Acording to some friends I have in other countries, the US of A isn't alone in this kind of "Savings".