I know I usually only blog about food, but if there is one thing I love more than food, it might be parks. It doesn’t hurt that hiking increases my appetite, and there is usually some sort of delicious food to be discovered while out adventuring.
Recently, the California state government announced that 70 state parks would be closed by July 1, 2012 as part of a $33 million dollar budget cut to the state park system. While closures have been threatened in the past (I think at least twice in the past five years), this time it seems to be actually happening.
Some argue that the state budget has long been bloated or simply sigh and say, “Everything has to be cut. Money has to be saved, no matter what the cost.” I maintain that the cost here is simply too high. There is evidence that closing parks won’t save money at all; in fact, it could cost far more than it will save.
Visitors to state parks tend to spend money in the nearby areas, which helps local economies. Closed parks will become havens for criminal activity. The risk of wildfires (already a huge issue for Californians) will only increase. Federal funding will be lost, and the state could still be liable for people injured while trespassing in the closed parks.
But, I digress. My main point here is just to say that I love state parks. To that end, Travis and I have decided that we will try to visit as many of the closing parks as possible over the next year. This is complicated by the fact that we live in Southern California, and the majority of the park closures are further north. But, we’ll still give it our best shot. We’ve been to a couple so far, and it occurred to me in the last couple of weeks that perhaps I should blog about our progress.
During the time that I’ve been thinking about this, I’ve actually stumbled across another blog called 70 in 70, which is much more adventurous – they’re attempting to visit all 70 parks in 70 days. I highly recommend it. The photography is absolutely stunning, and I cannot wait to see the parks in Northern California.
So that’s it. We’ve been to three parks so far, which I will hopefully post about soon. This coming weekend, we’ll be attempting to see 5 of the closing parks (plus 1 non-closing park) in 3 days. Whew. Wish me luck!