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State Park Visitors Will Notice Some Changes

Above: California poppies grow along the coast at Montana De Oro State Park. It is one of dozens of California State Parks threatened with closure due to California's budget crisis.

State parks officials are pleased that a new plan from the Schwarzenegger Administration will keep parks open, but they’re warning that people will notice some changes.

Roy Stearns, a spokesman for the Department of Parks and Recreation, said one way the system will absorb $14 million in budget cuts this year is by reducing maintenance.

“I think people are going to notice service reductions like bathrooms not getting cleaned often enough, trash not getting hauled often enough, they may see some vehicles that maybe have some service problems,” he said.

Parks officials had warned up to 100 parks could close in order to deal with budget cuts. But Governor Schwarzenegger released a plan to keep them open by instead reducing maintenance, putting off major equipment purchases and reducing hours of operation. For example, some parks may only be open on the weekends.

Stearns warns that next fiscal year parks face an even bigger cut of $22 million – so this is only a temporary solution. Parks also face a maintenance backlog of over $1 billion.

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