California plans closing some state parks

State parks officials today announced the closure of 70 parks because of the state budget deficit, including the governor's mansion and the Stanford mansion in Sacramento.

Gov. Jerry Brown's January budget plan proposed reducing the state parks budget by $22 million. The Legislature in March approved $11 million in cuts to state parks and $10 million in cuts to off highway vehicle parks in the next fiscal year, with $22 million in cuts to state parks in future years.

The California State Parks System was directed to identify which parks would close based on attendance rates and historical significance. The department operates more than 270 state park units covering more than 1.4 million acres.

"We regret closing any park," Ruth Coleman, director of California State Parks, said in a statement. "But with the proposed budget reductions over the next two years, we can no longer afford to operate all parks within the system."

The department said service reductions will begin over the summer and closures will begin in September. All parks on the list are to be padlocked by July 1, 2012 under the current budget proposal. The cuts have not yet been signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, so a final list could grow or shrink based on the actions the Legislature takes to close the budget deficit.

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