McGrath State Beach

California officials announced today that more than a quarter of the state’s 278 parks will close to take a bite out of Sacramento’s $15.2 billion deficit. Parks spokesperson Roy Stearns said it’s unclear how Governor Jerry Brown’s budget revision — scheduled for Monday — will affect the plan, but if slashings proceed as predicted, the closures begin this fall and end by July 2012.

No parks within Santa Barbara County are included on the final hit list — made when legislators voted in March to cut the department’s budget by $11 million this year and $22 million next year — but a number of nearby destinations, popular with area residents, are lined under the axe. McGrath State Beach in Oxnard, Morro Strand in Morro Bay, and Limekiln and Garrapata parks in Monterey County are all expected to close.

According to Stearns, many factors went into choosing which forests and beaches to shut down. Generated revenue, number of visitors, educational relevance, and contracts with private companies that run stores and restaurants were considered.

When asked what a closed park means for the wannabe visitor, Stearns said simply: “We prefer people don’t go there.” Gates will be locked, he explained, and there won’t be any rangers to come to people’s aid or personnel to maintain facilities. Stearns said trespassers will be asked to leave, and cited if “push comes to shove.”

During the November 2010 election, environmental groups tried in vain to help the ailing state park system by placing a proposition on the ballot that, if passed, would have used personal $18 vehicle registration fees to pay for statewide staffing and upkeep. In-state taxpayers would then be offered free day parking at any site for the year. The bid failed, though, earning only 40.7 percent of the vote.

Here’s a complete list of all the state parks set for closure:

Anderson Marsh SHP

Annadel SP

Antelope Valley Indian Museum

Austin Creek SRA

Bale Grist Mill SHP

Benbow Lake SRA

Benicia Capitol SHP

Benicia SRA

Bidwell Mansion SHP

Bothe-Napa Valley SP

Brannan Island SRA

California Mining & Mineral Museum

Candlestick Point SRA

Castle Crags SP

Castle Rock SP

China Camp SP

Colusa-Sacramento River SRA

Del Norte Coast Redwoods SP

Fort Humboldt SHP

Fort Tejon SHP

Garrapata SP

George J. Hatfield SRA

Governor’s Mansion SHP

Gray Whale Cove SB

Greenwood SB

Grizzly Creek Redwoods SP

Hendy Woods SP

Henry W. Coe SP

Jack London SHP

Jug Handle SNR

Leland Stanford Mansion SHP

Limekiln SP

Los Encinos SHP

Malakoff Diggins SHP

Manchester SP

McConnell SRA

McGrath SB

Mono Lake Tufa SNR

Morro Strand SB

Moss Landing SB

Olompali SHP

Palomar Mountain SP

Petaluma Adobe SHP

Picacho SRA

Pio Pico SHP

Plumas-Eureka SP

Point Cabrillo Light Station

Portola Redwoods SP

Providence Mountains SRA

Railtown 1897 SHP

Russian Gulch SP

Saddleback Butte SP

Salton Sea SRA

Samuel P. Taylor SP

San Pasqual Battlefield SHP

Santa Cruz Mission SHP

Santa Susana Pass SHP

Shasta SHP

South Yuba River SP

Standish-Hickey SRA

Sugarloaf Ridge SP

Tomales Bay SP

Tule Elk SNR

Turlock Lake SRA

Twin Lakes SB

Weaverville Joss House SHP

Westport-Union Landing SB

William B. Ide Adobe SHP

Woodson Bridge SRA

Zmudowski SB


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