Parks backers say closing parks will cost in long run

A non-profit group that supports public parks says closing state parks might save money now – but will cost California money in the long run.

Tracy Verardo-Torres with the California State Parks Foundation says closing a state park or campground will hurt the local businesses that depend on park visitors. She told KPCC’s Larry Mantle that parks make money for California.

Tracy Verardo-Torres: "There was a study done earlier this summer by Sac State that said on average when people are visiting parks, they’re spending about $57 in the surrounding communities.

"That’s not what it costs, that’s not your gate fee to get into the park. That’s buying gas outside, buying supplies, picking up a lunch. We think that you have to keep the enterprises open that create funding for the state, and those are state parks."

The California Department of Parks and Recreation is compiling a list of parks that could be closed, but won’t comment until the list is finished. There's speculation that as many as 50 parks could be closed, but the California State Parks Foundation says the number could be twice that.

The list is expected to generate private fundraising efforts to save the parks.

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