More bad news for the California State Park system today. In an earlier post, I mentioned Parks Director Ruth Coleman’s comment saying that those parks who can sustain their own operations will most likely be safe when the time comes to start locking up entrance gates.
But a story in today’s LA Times makes the unsettling observation that only 13 of the state’s 279 parks are financially self-sustaining, and that State Parks and non-profits are already scrambling to protect parks that may be on that sure-to-be-longer-than-we-hope-for list of closures.
They give the example of Bodie State Historic Park – a fantastically preserved ghost town northeast of Yosemite that’s on this hiker’s summer itinerary – as a likely target for closure. Because it’s not easily accessible and most visitors are seasonal, it will probably be shut down once they start shutting down the system. Bodie’s a particularly bad closure, because the town is being preserved in a state of “arrested decay” by its staff. One could presume if the park becomes unmanned, it would make an easy target for artifact-looters and curio-hunters.
The article also notes the possibility of corporate sponsors for parks, as well as the revival of the formerly-proposed $15 vehicle license fee – which would almost completely fund the State Park System while also allowing anyone with a California plate a free day-pass for state parks.
Ballot initiative, anyone?