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CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS CRISIS: Closing the gates to Eden – latimes.com

September 12, 2011

Closing the gates to Eden to save money

Volunteers and corporate donors are hoping to pitch in to keep budget cuts from closing state parks. Many fear that without oversight, poachers and pot farmers will take over.

By Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times

September 11, 2011

Reporting from Henry W. Coe State Park— Solitude is what draws visitors to this 136-square-mile preserve, where golden-hued hills dotted with oak trees rise to steep ridges thick with chaparral.

At one of California’s least-known state parks, hikers, backpackers and mountain bikers roam more than 200 miles of trails through a vast backcountry of canyons, creeks and woodlands less than an hour’s drive from Silicon Valley.

But this year, that seclusion has threatened Henry W. Coe State Park; light visitation and low revenues have made California’s second-largest park a target in the state’s budget battles.

In May, California officials announced plans to close this rugged expanse and 69 other state parks by next summer to save $22 million, leaving volunteer groups scrambling to raise funds and forge agreements to keep them open.

via State parks crisis: Closing the gates to Eden – latimes.com.

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