Our state parks are slated for the budget crisis chopping block. This will affect many important parks within our region, including Standish Hickey State Recreation Area, Benbow Lake State Recreation Area, Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park, Fort Humboldt State Historic Park and Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. Click here to view a map of the state parks slated for closure and to ask your state representative to stop state park closures. 
On Friday May 13, Governor Jerry Brown released revisions to his budget proposal, which included major cutbacks and tax increases to bring our state’s almost $35 billion deficit into the black. The Legislature in March approved $11 million in immediate cuts to state parks. As a result of these budget cutbacks, State Parks officials announced the scheduled closure of 70 parks, including five in Humboldt County. The parks are expected to be fully closed on July 1, 2012, but service cutbacks – including reduced hours and amenities will start this summer.
EPIC’s Gary Hughes spoke with Elizabeth Goldstein, Executive Director of the California State Parks Foundation on the KMUD Environment Show. Listen to the show here. 
The California State Parks System was directed to identify which parks would be closed based on attendance rates and historical significance. Parks officials said they tried to protect the most significant cultural and natural resources, while maintaining the parks that provided the most public access and state revenue.
There are two bills that may help keep our parks open. SB 580 (Wolk/Kehoe), could enact strong, statewide policy to protect our state park system to preserve the integrity of California’s state park system and protect taxpayers’ investments in our state parks. Additionally, AB 42 (Huffman) helps encourage partnerships by allowing the Department of Parks and Recreation to enter into operating agreements with nonprofit organizations in order to help keep state parks open and accessible to the public.