Budget cuts could close 220 California parks

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's budget calls for cutting $70 million in parks spending through June 2010. Rich Pedroncelli / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

A drastic plan to slash California's budget could mean closing down 220 state parks, including scenic attractions that draw millions of visitors.

Parks on the list include Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay, Will Rogers' Southern California ranch and Humboldt Redwoods State Park, which boasts the world's tallest tree. The Governor's Mansion in Sacramento is on the list, and so is Bodie State Historic Park, one of the best-preserved Old West ghost towns.

A parks spokesman calls the plan "a worst-case scenario," and says officials will try to keep as many parks open as possible. If adopted, the plan would mean layoffs for at least 2,000 park rangers, lifeguards and other workers.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's budget calls for cutting $70 million in parks spending through June 2010. About $143.4 million more would be saved in following fiscal year by keeping the parks closed.

The proposal has angered conservationists and others who say California's parks bring in tourist dollars that help the state and local economies.