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San Diego State Parks Threatened

Audio

Aired 8/19/09

San Diego has 14 state parks, any of which could be threatened with closure next month as a result of the state budget cuts. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

San Diego has 14 state parks, any of which could be threatened with closure next month as a result of the state budget cuts.

Spring wildflowers bloom in Henderson Canyon in Anza Borrego State Park. The park is one of many the state could close due to budget constraints.
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Above: Spring wildflowers bloom in Henderson Canyon in Anza Borrego State Park. The park is one of many the state could close due to budget constraints.

Three of San Diego’s state parks are among the top ten revenue generating parks in the state. Old Town, Carlsbad and San Onofre State Beach each raise more than $2 million a year. This puts them in a stronger position than parks like Palomar Mountain and Anza Borrego Desert Parks.

Sheryl Watson of California State Parks says with a 10 percent budget cut, the department may have to close up to 100 of its 278 parks statewide.

"It will be a business decision." she says, "We would look at the cost to operate the park, as well as the revenue. Some parks are extremely popular but they are also expensive to operate. We’re working on a matrix to break down how much it costs to operate each of our parks."

Six of San Diego’s state parks are beaches. Watson says cuts will almost certainly mean fewer seasonal lifeguards will be hired next summer. She says the department has 50 full-time lifeguards and 600 who are trained but are hired seasonally.

The list of parks to be closed won’t be released till after Labor Day.

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