For about three years, the state of California has delicately danced around the idea of closing state parks in order to “close the budget gap.” While California is the 8th largest economy in the world, its budget demands often require brutal cutbacks. Unfortunately the ax fell on May 13 when the Governor’s budget plan eyed about 70 state parks that would be permanently closed. That’s roughly 25% of our state park system!
Surfrider received emails from concerned members about how some of their favorite state beaches and popular inland camping areas were closing down. While we are equally disheartened by the news, the best suggestion we have is to contact your state representatives and the Governor and tell them you do not support the closure plan! Our friends at the State Park Foundation have created an action alert that allows you to easily send a message. Go here to reach your legislators. To see a map of the closures go here.
The Surfrider Foundation has been following the park closure issue since the idea was floated around years ago. Why? We wrote a long blog post detailing our passion for parks, see it here. In short, we are working on park protection because it’s Surfrider’s mission to ensure the enjoyment of our oceans, beaches and waves—and the most popular state parks are located along the coast. It’s incumbent upon the Surfrider Foundation to look out for our coastal parks. Park protection is also important to us because we have invested a considerable amount of time protecting state parks from ill-conceived development that would hinder the quality of state beaches; such as our Save Trestles campaign which helped defeat a horrible toll road project that would have ruined San Onofre State Beach. On a simplistically logical note, we believe park protection makes economic sense. There have been numerous studies that prove park visitors bring local economic stimulus. And finally, the Surfrider Foundation cares about keeping our parks open because it is part of our mission to secure public access to the coast.
Show your support for parks by sending a message to your elected officials and most importantly—get out there and play in your state parks! Visiting parks is truly one of the best ways to demonstrate your support.