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State Parks Officials Face Hot Seat on Closures

Aired 11/1/11 on KPBS News.

At least a dozen of the 70 California state parks set to close due to budget cuts may not shut down after all - and lawmakers and parks advocates are pushing hard for that number to grow.

At least a dozen of the 70 California State Parks set to close due to budget cuts may not shut down after all – and lawmakers and parks advocates are pushing hard for that number to grow.

Two Assembly committees grilled the State Parks department Tuesday about alternatives to closures. Democrat Jared Huffman said the state needs to be more creative than simply locking a park’s gates.

“In some cases, non-profits can be the answer,” said Huffman. “In other cases, we got to find a way to take what is clearly high attendance that’s not being captured in revenues and make some changes to make that work. But I am convinced that if we work creatively and collaboratively, we can keep every one of these parks open.”

The state said it has lined up outside operators like non-profits and private companies to keep at least a dozen parks open. The rest of the 70 are scheduled to close by July of next year.

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