California is in the crapper…financially it is a broken state, with a budget deficit of $24.3 billion dollar; yes that’s a billion! Teachers are being let go, Government employees are being put on furlough...it is to be frank a disaster!
To try and address the balance CA Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has recommended cutting $70 million from his state's parks budget. If this move passes, it would result in the closure of 220 of the state's 279 parks! I’ll spare you all the details but needless to say for some one like me this could spell disaster, indeed the State Parks provides tens of thousands of acres of recreational land to not only runners, but hikers, mountain bikers, families who picnic, children on field trips…the list goes on.
The parks were under threat last year and were spared; several studies have shown that their closure will actually potentially add to the deficit with the loss of income from parking, donations etc. The Parks under threat are illustrated on the map as you can see the knife is sharp and may cut deep. The list includes; mountains, desert, lakes, beaches, woodland, there is in fact no environment that is spared
My running club; The Trail Runners Club, who, I have to admit I have been remiss about running with since moving, will be holding a Rally to generate local support for this issue, the event will be held at Will Rodgers State Park in Pacific Palisades this Sunday June 21st, there is an organized run starting around 7:00am for two hours followed by refreshments etc at 9:00am, all are welcome, bring your family, friends and a big sign. If you are local I urge you to attend and show your support.
Many of you will be too far afield to attend, however if you are located in California I ask you to put pen to paper to express your opposition to this proposal, to make things easier there are several pro forma letters that only require you to add you name address and a stamp, these are available to download online via drop.io. you can find them here. In fact even if you are further out of state or even out of the country I ask that you bring pressure to bear on the state legislature.
There are several sites dedicated to this cause, California State Park Foundation is leading the charge and also has a strong following on Facebook, please visit them for more information about their proposed license plate visitors fee which would make the Parks virtually self funding even turn a profit!
Your support will be appreciated by not only me but by many.