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Closing State Parks Could Hurt Communities

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California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed closing 220 state parks, including several in San Diego County, to help reduce the state's $24 billion budget deficit.

The California State Parks Foundation says a plan to close 80-percent of state parks to reduce the budget deficit is a bad idea. KPBS Environment Reporter Ed Joyce tells us the group thinks closing parks will hurt cities and towns that rely on tourism money.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed closing 220 state parks, including several in San Diego County.

The Governor says that's one way to narrow the state's $24 billion budget deficit.

Traci Verardo-Torres is with the California State Parks Foundation.

She says hurting communities that depend on the parks would save less than 0.62 percent of the money needed to shore up the deficit.

"You have all the sales tax that people spend in the surrounding communities on gas, on food, on s'mores, on firewood, on you know, all of these things, that really, in communities like Borrego Springs and Anza-Borrego and others, this will really be a big hit to them," Verardo-Torres said.

In San Diego County, Torrey Pines state beach and Palomar Mountain State Park are among those that would be closed.

Verardo-Torres says closing the parks means no staff, no bathrooms, no services.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

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