California is a state of unparalleled natural beauty and nearly 1.5 percent of the state’s total 163,696 square miles is set aside in state parks - and Californians truly love their parks. Over 57 million people visited the Golden State’s 279 state parks in the 2010/2011 fiscal year to hike, camp, and commune with nature in deserts, forests, mountains and beaches. But budget trimming measures enacted by Governor Jerry Brown in 2011 included plans to close 70 of the state’s facilities on July 1st.
The cost cutting move launched a groundswell of public support for the threatened parks and roughly 40 of them now have some kind of reprieve that will allow them to remain open after Sunday, though all agreements are temporary with terms lasting between one and five years.
California State Parks officials are in negotiations with private parties that may allow an additional 25 parks to remain open. That leaves five remaining "orphan" facilities whose future is in question.
What is the future of California’s park system? Will private funding be the new model to pay for public parks?
Jerry Emory, director of communications for the California State Parks Foundation
Ruth Coleman, director of California State Parks