220 California Parks to be Terminated?

With California facing a $24.3 billion deficit, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has released a budget that eliminates $70 million in funding for the state's parks system.

"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's budget cuts could mean the closing of up to 220 state parks, among them the home of the world's tallest tree and other attractions that draw millions of visitors. Schwarzenegger this week recommended eliminating $70 million in parks spending through June 30, 2010. An additional $143.4 million would be saved in the following fiscal year by keeping the parks closed.

The Legislature last year rejected the governor's proposal to close 48 state parks. But lawmakers said that with California's budget deficit now at $24.3 billion, the situation is so dire that it is likely some parks will close. The state parks department said a $70 million cut would leave it with enough money to run just 59 of California's 279 state parks. At least 2,000 park rangers, biologists, lifeguards, interpreters, architects and maintenance workers would be laid off if the proposal is adopted, said Sterns, the parks spokesman.

The state's famed park system attracts nearly 80 million visitors a year. William Randolph Hearst's Castle on the Central Coast and a dozen other so-called moneymakers would remain open, as would many Southern California beaches that attract millions of visitors year round."

Full Story: Schwarzenegger plan would close 220 Calif. parks

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