On July 1, at the height of the summer camping and hiking season, dozens of state parks are slated to close due to budget cuts. But park supporters and politicians are scrambling to keep many sites open through partnerships, corporate sponsorships and other fundraising efforts. We’ll get the latest on the unprecedented closings. Is one of your local parks shutting its gates? What will it mean for your community?

Mapping the Park System: Explore what parks are set to close, are saved or will remain open.

View California State Park Closures in a larger map

Closing State Parks 14 June,2012forum

Ruth Coleman, director of California State Parks
Joe Simitian, California state senator (D-Palo Alto) whose "Sustainable Parks Proposal" is currently part of the budget package
Traci Verardo-Torres, vice-president for government affairs for the California State Parks Foundation
Rachael Myrow, host and reporter for KQED's The California Report

  • utera

    Hate to say it, but education > parks.  Fiscal emergency triage should be applied.

  • Rhet

    Just think of all the people who won’t get the news that XYZ park is closing, so they’ll spend the money to drive there only to discover they have to find something else to do. This almost appears to be a deliberate set up to convince the public that public services are run by incompetent or antisocial people, when the truth is it’s infiltration of the government by business interests that’s corroding state services everywhere.

  • KM

    I am hoping this will also address the chaos that is occurring
    for rangers/staff at closing parks. The delays in telling these dedicated
    people where they are going to be placed are truly unbelievable.

  • Tinamarieto

    A few months back I suggested to Noreen Evans that we use Fastrak to charge entrance fees instead of manned kiosks. What happened with this idea?

    Do many parks are supported by park foundations. Why not promote these foundations more?

  • Stephan Stubbins

    Broadway performers are helping in effort to keep Jack London State Park open! Broadway Under The Stars in Jack London State Park Is taking place, July 14 through September 1 this summer with over 45 broadway & Hollywood actor.. A portion of the proceeds are going directly to helping to keep the park open. Check it out,

  • Kac Rcp

    How can we get more volunteers for service to help with maintenance? I work on the trail days which organized efforts have volunteers guided to do work that rangers and other paid staff don’t have time to do. Trail Days perhaps should be scheduled more often during the year and advertised somehow, say to organized groups who have talents or skills to do particular work.

    Kathryn Carpenter
    Mountain View

  • If people are interested in helping out their local state park or getting involved in this important issue, what can they do (besides donating money)?

  • Robyngregg

    As a tie in to Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” program… it’s no longer safe for kids to run outside and play in our neighborhoods, making it so much more important these days to have a “place to go” for kids to get outside and get exercise.

  • Paul

    I support our state park by visitations and by contributing $$ to the Calif State Parks Foundation. I also very much treasure our Off Highway Vehicle recreation in our state too. Calif state democrats and CSPF advocate taking 50% of OHV user-supported trust fund annually, about $10M. I strongly oppose this take. $10M represent a tiny fraction of State Park operating money that could be raised by an environmental or special license plate and raised entrance fees (with an accommodation for low-income visitors). OHV recreation economically supports rural communities, just like state parks do. The state is just shifting problem from one form of recreation to another. The problem is state parks need to fimd their own source of user-generated  revenue, not steal from OHV recreation ! (note: the OHV Trust Fund not only supports state facilities, but long establised (50-100 year old) trails and roads on our state’s National Forest and BLM lands)

  • Elaine

    Please forgive me if this has already been covered but is it possible to reintroduce the legislation that didn’t pass a few years ago that proposed raising car registration fees to support the parks? 

    As a former ranger and a nature enthusiast, I’m still dumbstruck that that petition didn’t pass.  I’m hoping that as people see the consequences of not funding our parks, they will reconsider a benefits of a car reg fee. 

  • Mary Ann

    Fort Ross and Sonoma Coast Beaches are free to the public from fundraising efforts by The Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods,
    MaryAnn, Stewards Member, Santa Rosa, CA.

  • Chris

    Why can’t we bifurcate the costs based on the credit card address using the automated payment machines?

  • Kac Rcp

    How does our donation to the CA State Parks Foundation get used in light of the closure crisis?

  • marie

    i think the state park management needs to be more enterprising. it’s the 21 century.. what’s the most popular thing right now? summer festivals and food trucks. they should host some summer night movies at a park(not a prestine one but one that will accomodate traffic/ppl and not cause damage to he natural environment) there’s usually a buffer zone at most these parks and parking lots. these locations are perfect. alot of the recevenus can go to the local parks and there’s very little capitals compare to builiding permenant restaurants and recreational services..other than man power to main /oraganize the events.

    i think ppl will go for droves if there are some popular foodtrucks and they can watch a few summer flicks and music performances..


  • Andrew with InvestigateWest, great discussion.

    We just finished a report on the government mismanagement of public park closures and conversions. Story here:

    We also put together a database that allows users to explore and submit data on the park grants nationwide. Would love any participation and feedback!

  • Chuloride

    what i hear in police , police , police the so called rangers have got away from the duties to actually work with parks . the duties of enterpative , and or helping in the day to day operations  he large cost of state parks police that is their real name and their larger retirement cost is draging the system down you close a park to be reun by and other group but still need a cop at 100 grand a year  ask ruth about that ?

  • differently able

    It is all smoke and mirrors…what is the base rate pay for Rangers and their benefits package? How many parks were taken from the Indigenous peoples? How many of the campsites are under $60.00 and not on the reservation system…this isn’t for families…it is for the wealthy who reserve sites 7 months in advance and sometimes the parks are only 50% occupied, but full because those same people didn’t bother to show up.  Ruth Coleman is a six figure employee who has never paid two dollars for a three and a half min. cold shower…go to any beach park and they are full of people who have million dollar motor homes and could care less about anybody else…let the free market take over the operations of Parks and get rid of overpay and freeloading  personnel who just want the huge retirement packages available…

  • Earth to California: What part of “We are broke” don’t you understand? Second highest unemployment in the nation. Hello, how is the Facebook stock doin’ for ya?

    • Fred

       You meant to say “We were made broke by crooked people in power”.

  • James R

    California lottery profits should go to our State Parks.  When it goes to education it is sent down a bottomless pit.

  • Mike

    It’s inconceivable that some of these parks will close — e.g. Russian Gulch, Manchester, Castle Crags, etc. Absolutely disgusting and appalling. 

  • Mike

    This list doesn’t tell the whole story. For example, while Sonoma Coast State Park remains “open,” many of its far flung facilities are closed or partially closed.

  • I have been traveling to all of the closing parks and documenting them, if you’re interested, you can see my work at

  • What a bunch of BS. What a way to get money. I tell ya, if I see 95 signs put up again on a .3 piece of property at the same time the parks cry for more money, I’m going to take all those signs and stick them up the government’s arse.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor