Thanks to last minute action by the National Parks Service (NPS), three California state parks previously slated for closure due to budget cuts will remain open at least for a couple more years.
Marin County's Tomales Bay State Park and Samuel P. Taylor State Park along with Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, located just north of Eureka, won't be forced to shutter at the end of the year along with the 67 other state parks also closing their gates. Instead, the NPS will take over the operations and security at the three parks
"It's very exciting news, and it is a continuation of a long-term collaboration between the National Park Service and the California State Parks," Jerry Emory, spokesman for the California State Parks Foundation told the San Francisco Chronicle. "It's not a silver bullet, but it keeps some parks open."
These three parks were able to be saved because they sit adjacent to, or entirely within, parks operated by the federal government and, in some cases, are already partially run by the NPS.
All three are located within the boundaries of national parks: Tomales is within both Point Reyes National Seashore and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area; Samuel P. Taylor is located in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area; and Del Norte is in Redwood National Park near Crescent City.
The NPS estimates that a combined 250,000 people visit these three parks each year.
While the deal keeps the parks open, at least through the 2013 fiscal year, the NPS won't be investing in new projects in the parks or undertaking any major repairs or improvements.
The closures will affect 25 percent of all California parks and are expected to save the state $33 million.
There is a chance that some of California's other parks could similarly escape being shut down. The Marin independent Journal reports:
Numerous other state parks on the closure list may not be able to be closed. Sixteen received money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a 1964 federal law which provides money from offshore oil drilling royalties to purchase and renovate parks. That law bars states and cities from closing any parks that received the federal funding. Similarly, about a dozen of the parks on the closure list are on the coast, and Peter Douglas, executive director of the California Coastal Commission, said that because of public access guarantees under state law, they cannot be closed without approval of the Coastal Commission.
The full list of parks being shuttered is available here.