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June 10, 2009

State Parks in Upheaval

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Herbert Hoover saved the redwoods.
Now it's our turn.

Photo: Save the Redwoods League

by Brook Wilkinson

If you've been thinking about visiting a California state park, you better do it this summer. Assuming the Governator's proposed budget passes, most of them will be closed come Labor Day. California has had financial troubles since long before last fall's economic collapse, and the latest solution to its budgetary woes calls for the shuttering of every state park that isn't collecting enough in fees to support itself. The gates to state beaches will be locked, the ranger stations inside redwood forests unmanned. Of course, that could lead to vandalism, wildfires set by careless trespassers, and even poaching.

If you care about maintaining our country's wilderness, go visit a park. Whether it's a state or national park, in California or anywhere else in the country, they all need our help. It doesn't cost much. So take your kid or your sweetie for a walk in the woods this weekend. 

And to drum up attention for the plight of the parks, the Save the Redwoods League is holding a photo contest. Upload your favorite shot from a redwood forest by July 23 and you might win a stay in Redwood National Park.

Further reading:
* Globe-trotting for Good: Enter the Condé Nast Traveler Challenge
* Responsible Traveler: Making a difference

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