California’s state parks offer an immense range of ways for visitors to learn and to play. Hear tales of the 49ers at Old Shasta or of Alta California at Pio Pico State Historic Park. Ride a wakeboard on Lake Oroville or discover an urban escape along the Los Angeles River.
With such rich assets, our state parks should be a foundation of California’s tourism industry, a magnet for visitors to admire our state’s natural wonders, and a driving force supporting local businesses.
Instead, state parks have long been mismanaged, leading to a system that – thanks to years of budget cuts and neglected upkeep – is frequently falling into physical ruin. Hikers are almost as likely to encounter yellow caution tape closing a trail as they are an informative sign about the local wildlife. Even the parks’ most devoted boosters recall the mismanagement that just a few years ago threatened to close dozens of parks even as the agency sat on millions in hidden reserves.