SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — This could be the last 4th of July weekend to enjoy about a quarter of California’s State Parks, at least for a while. Seventy of the 278 state parks, many of which include campgrounds, are slated to be closed by this time next year as part of the budget deal.

It will mark the first time in history that California is closing state parks due to budget cuts. The closures will save $11 million over the next fiscal year.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

State Parks spokesman Roy Stearns said this week’s signing of the budget brings a sense of finality to the plan.

“It’d be nice to think that the economy could turn around and there’d be a reprieve from this, but there’s no evidence that that’s going to happen. It may be that these parks will be closed for a number of years,” Stearns said.

According to Stearns the park systems’ operating budget went from $175 million five years ago to a projected $99 million next year.

“We have seen a steady decrease in parks and there’s no other choice because we can’t afford to operate all of them at this point,” he said.

Stearns said officials are exploring partnerships with cities, counties, non-profits and private businesses to keep at least some of 70 parks on the chopping block open.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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