Budget cuts to the California Parks and Recreation Department have forced a few San Diego area parks to close.
A few campgrounds and parks in San Diego closed this week because of cuts to the California budget.
Doane Valley Campground, Cedar Grove Campground in Palomar State Park closed on Oct. 2 and have no plans to reopen. The entire Palomar State Park is slated to close in July 1, 2012. Granite Springs Environmental Campground and Green Valley Campground in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park all closed also closed and they will reopen July 1, 2012.
“I feel horrible, State Parks is not in the business to close parks,” Nedra Martinez, state park superintendent said. “This has been a really difficult last couple months for all of us.”
Martinez had to lay off seven employees after she received a call that her seasonal budget had been cut.
“We have very few permanent staff,” she said. “So when I lose seasonal staff it means I have to close facilities.”
A few factors were taken into consideration when closing down the parks, including park attendance and revenue. Some parks are safe from closure, because of their status as an “Outstanding and Representative Park.” Meaning parks such as Torrey Pines State Reserve or San Onofre State Beach cannot be closed because they contain notable geographical or historical features.
Martinez said she’d be open to having outside organizations fund the parks.
“The point is to protect our resources and facilities… if we can’t do it I’m hoping someone else can,” she said.
The California Department of Parks and Recreation issued a statement earlier in the year warning of park closures in order to achieve an $11 million reduction for the 2011/2012 fiscal year. Up to 70 of the 278 parks could be closed by July 2012.