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Most of the 70 Endangered State Parks Have Been Saved From Closure...For Now

Photo of the Antelope Valley Indian Museum State Historic Park by Emma Gallegos/LAist
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Sixty-five of the 70 California state parks slated for closure this Sunday are going to remain open.

The state's Department of Parks and Recreation (helmed by some sort of real-life Leslie Knope, we're sure) managed to make deals with private donors, foundations and non-profit groups so that 40 of the 70 state parks on the endangered list could remain open. The state has plans in the works with outside partnerships to help keep 25 more parks open, according to the Sacramento Bee. (Which parks dodged the bullet? Check out this map and do visit them if you get the chance.)

That leaves five unlucky parks who haven't yet managed to find a white knight to save them: Benicia State Recreation Area; the California Mining and Mineral Museum in Mariposa; Gray Whale Cove State Beach near Montara and Zmudowski State Beach near Moss Landing; and Providence Mountains State Recreation Area in San Bernardino County.

Fortunately the two beaches on that list won't be closed to the public—there just won't be amenities like trash pick-up and restrooms. And it's not quite over for the rest of them (although the Providence Mountains area has been shuttered and the Mining and Mineral Museum is already packing it up). Natural Resources Secretary John Laird told the Sacramento Bee that it might be able to find stopgap money to keep the last five parks from closure.

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Passing on almost a quarter of the state park system to outside operators might have saved the parks in the short-term, but the move worries some legislators who wanted the state to maintain control. That wasn't possible after Governor Jerry Brown partially vetoed the Legislature's state parks funding bill. It set aside $41 million to keep the park system, but he only approved about $10 million in new funds, according to the Associated Press. (He said the extra $31 million was off-limits because of spending restrictions.)

"I think it's a lost opportunity to take action to reclaim our parks before it's too late. I worry that once they're lost, they may be lost forever," Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, told the AP. "It's very hard to reclaim a resource like this once you've let it go."