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Lawmakers Consider State Park Cuts

At a legislative hearing, State Parks Director Ruth Coleman said the department is working on a list of parks that could be closed. She said it’s one way to help absorb a reduction of $11 million this year and $22 million a year after that.

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.
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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.

Coleman said they’re exploring increased partnerships with local governments, non-profits and businesses to help keep parks open. But she said some things are maintained simply for the public good.

“For example, preserving a 2,000 year old Redwood Tree. The private sector can’t get value from that tree unless they cut it, so there are certain things that we need to do that don’t have a monetary value and so that’s the most challenging thing for all of us as Californians to figure out, how are we going to protect what matters to us in the context where the funding just isn’t there anymore.”

Coleman said as they make the list of possible closures, they’re considering the historic and natural significance of each park, attendance and the feasibility of closing it.

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