Popular state beaches and parks may close

Ten beaches in San Mateo County alone slated for closure due to state budget cuts

Ten San Mateo County beaches, including an elephant-seal rookery and a popular hostel and lighthouse, could be closed if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposed budget cuts take effect.

The beaches, which make up the bulk of the county's coastal access, could be off limits by as soon as Labor Day, according to state officials.

The closures are part of a proposed plan to close 59 parks and beaches due to a state budget crisis. Popular beaches in Santa Cruz County, including Natural Bridges State Beach, home to migrating Monarch butterflies, could also be closed.

According to the California State Parks Department, the San Mateo County beaches that may close include:

* Ano Nuevo State Park, home to the elephant seals

* Bean Hollow State Beach, a crescent-shaped cove known for its agate- and jasper-pebbled beach

* Gray Whale Cove State Beach

* Half Moon Bay State Beach

* Montara State Beach

* Pescadero State Beach

* Point Montara Light Station, a lighthouse and hostel

* Pomponio State Beach

* San Gregorio State Beach, which includes a lagoon frequented by pelicans

* Thornton State Beach

Santa Cruz County beaches include: Lighthouse Field, Manresa, Natural Bridges, New Brighton, Seacliff, Sunset and Twin Lakes.

In addition to the beach closures, residents would lose access to state parks.

In San Mateo County, Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Burleigh Murray Ranch, Butano State Park and Portola Redwoods State Park would close. Santa Clara County would lose Henry W. Coe State Park.

In Santa Cruz County, Castle Rock State Park (on Skyline Boulevard south of state Highway 9), Castro Adobe, Henry Cowell State Park, Santa Cruz Mission, the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park and Wilder Ranch would close.


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Posted by Dick
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 1, 2009 at 11:52 am

Will you be arrested for trespassing if you visit a closed beach? Or does closing a beach just mean that the parking lot is locked? All these beaches are still easily accessible by bicycle or even walking from nearby towns.

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Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 1, 2009 at 12:34 pm

It means idyllic romantic walks along the beach through trash (and more, 'cuz the rest rooms are closed).

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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 1, 2009 at 1:09 pm

Paul, I'm afraid you're right.

I do keep wondering if the state can't afford to keep the beaches open how they can afford to monitor them for trespassing.

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Posted by Sandra
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 1, 2009 at 1:16 pm

No worries, we will have HSR and-------- nothing else

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Posted by Hank
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 1, 2009 at 1:51 pm

I guess the unions won -- a very minor pay cut, a tiny layoff, and the massive reduction of services. You can thank the SEIU for that.

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Posted by its a shame
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 1, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Its a shame these parks are closing. I hear that they generate $2 for every dollar spent towards the general fund. Castle Rock is a great place to climb, and I have volunteered a few times to do maintenance work in Wilder, Henry Coe, Henry Cowell, Angel Island, and Nisene Marks. Without monitoring, parking areas will be broken into more often and hopefully people will make an effort to police their trash. This seems like a grudge decision after bills were shut down during general election.

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Posted by Don G.
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 1, 2009 at 2:31 pm

If this happens, it's because the politicians in Sac don't want to clean their own house (beauracracy) so they'll let the locals feel the pain by closing parks, followed by funding to local govts for essential services like fire and police departments, then schools. The last thing they want to cut is their support for their "friends" and pet projects. They think we are so stupid. When election time comes around remember how they stood up for you (the local guy)and vote them out of office.

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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 1, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Just contract out the beach patrol to private enterprise. Specifically, let a contract for the entire state beach system in California. The privateer charges whatever the market will tolerate. The private company will be responsible for restrooms and cleanup chores. The company will also have temporary arrest powers for trespassers and transgressors...long enough to call the local sherrifs.

Then let the romantic walks continue, once you pay the entrance fee.

Once people get used to how well this system works, they will begin to ask, "Well, how about the rest of government services that were thought to be indispensable?".

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 1, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

I have asked my spies in Sacramento to see if this wave of economizing has included eliminating the human elevator operators in the legislator only elevators. I first became irritated at this practice in 1943 when I carried the Sacramento Union to the Capitol. Poor legislators pushing their own buttons; Oh! The humanity!

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Posted by Super
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 1, 2009 at 3:19 pm

Hate to see things like this happen, but these are trying times and the state cannot continue to spend more than it takes in (and it takes in too much $$$ compared to what other states raise in taxes). Time to cut spending. Gotta start somewhere.

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Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 1, 2009 at 3:25 pm

There's a simple solution. Charge use fees that pay for the janitorial services and litigation expenses. Done.

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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 1, 2009 at 3:35 pm

It is the same problem as led to demise of GM.

The unions negotiated grossly inflated contracts and the companies cannot compete and go banckrupt.
With Gov services the unions do the same thing and then expect the tax payer to bail them out.
We need to outsource as much Gov work, state and local to private contractors, fire, police, works, education etc etc.
Introduce some competition, management science, accountability and customer focus

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Posted by Just More Union Bashing
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 1, 2009 at 3:45 pm

So it's the union's fault that GM decided to build crappy gas-guzzlers?

And Enron should run our state parks for fun and profit?

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Posted by Hank
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 1, 2009 at 4:06 pm

"So it's the union's fault that GM decided to build crappy gas-guzzlers?"

Yep. The union wages were high enough that GM was unable to build smaller cars that people would buy and make a profit on them. SUVs have much higher margins than small vehicles.

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Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 1, 2009 at 4:07 pm

"There's a simple solution. Charge use fees that pay for the janitorial services and litigation expenses. Done."

Some state parks and beaches charge use fees now. I think a nominal fee to help cover expenses is reasonable. But, my crusty pld perspective says that these parks should be accessible to the citizens because they belong to the citizens, so keep those fees affordable for everybody.


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Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 1, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Hey Just More,

This is a simple problem. It requires a simple solution. We don't need highly trained union members to clean toilets, look for safety hazards, and check the parking lots for people that didn't put their money in the box at the entrance.

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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 1, 2009 at 4:10 pm

"Seven months ago, the United Auto Workers and its media and political allies howled at the prospect of a GM bankruptcy.
What a difference a Democratic president makes.

After securing a bailout from the Bush administration to keep the company afloat, the UAW has used the last several months — and its considerable clout in the Democratic party — to shape bankruptcy to its liking.

Bankruptcy experts, who overwhelmingly favored GM entering Chapter 11 last fall with government acting as a so-called debtor-in-possession (DIP) financier (to guarantee consumer warranties and supplier contracts), have watched with horror as the Obama administration has exercised ruthless, mob-like power to rip up bondholder contracts and construct a highly irregular bankruptcy process that favors Big Labor over investors.

That conflict is already apparent as the Obama administration has:

* pushed new mpg laws (which will punish GM for what it does best: make light trucks).

* discouraged GM from importing small cars it already builds overseas to meet those mpg limits overseas so that such cars might be built by the UAW.

* encouraged GM to build plug-in electric cars like the Chevy Volt to satisfy Greens even as the White House’s own task force says the Volt will not make money anytime soon (if ever).

With the government using the bankruptcy process for political rather than competitive ends, interested parties like management and unions have less reason to fundamentally reform their past errors.

And without fundamental reform, GM is likely to be a ward of the state for a very long time.

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Posted by jim h.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 1, 2009 at 5:08 pm

More than beaches, state parks as well, such as Big Basin, Henry Coe, Angel Island, and many, many others.

And it's these stories that amaze me that we're trying to build a rail system that will not only cost $60+B but will also end up being subsidized yearly, adding to the General Fund drain. So, then what do they cut?

It's the equivalent of not being able to pay the mortgage but going out to buy a brand new car to replace your 5 year old sedan. Pathetic.

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Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 1, 2009 at 5:14 pm

I hope that the government makes the mistake of shutting them down. Arnold thinks that by shutting down some highly visible luxuries that the voters will roll over and give him more rope.

It's going to take a political movement to turn the CA State government on its head. Let's tear up all of the propositions and start over again. Let's throw all of these idiots out of Sacramento.

Let's start over with the state government. We don't need all of these departments and commissions. Let's hold a constitutional congress now.

I nominate Steve Poizner to run it. He's the only person in CA that seems to have common sense regarding the how the state is run.

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Posted by Ross
a resident of Woodside
on Jun 1, 2009 at 9:28 pm

Good luck making these beaches off limits in an area where the modern surfing movement took off. The state/county will spend more enforcing tresspassing teenage partiers and MJ growers than they spend on porta potties and garbage removal. As far as inland state parks go, I'd say create a decent network of mountain bike trails and charge $150-200 a year for a mountain bike State Park access pass. I'd pay.

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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2009 at 11:14 pm

The Governator is sending a message by proposing these cuts. The $143M in savings is a tiny fraction of the $24.3B deficit plus it doesn't account to the security and repair costs. He wants you to feel the pain. Some of the California State Parks might close and some might even be sold off.

It's time to take your medicine.

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Posted by Sarah
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 1, 2009 at 11:28 pm


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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Jun 1, 2009 at 11:32 pm

Schwarzenegger is doing this for the same reason he proposed releasing and deporting illegal immigrants from prison.

It's all political grandstanding to hit the liberals in the things near and dear to their hearts. It won't even have a minuscule effect on the budget deficit.

I hope he is successful in both of these. I've posted my views on deporting illegal immigrants in prison before, so I won't re-hash that.

I do have the unfortunate circumstance of living on the feeder highway to one of the state parks Schwarzenegger wants to close. Nothing would make me happier than the riddance of the Winnebagos, bicyclists, incompetent drivers and all the other negative manifestations of the seasonal invasion I get of city-dwelling flatlanders.

Am I a NIMBY, absolutely. Just like Palo Altans in their opposition to high speed rail, and a plethora of things that would benefit others, yet are in their "back yard".

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 2, 2009 at 5:18 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

"So it's the union's fault that GM decided to build crappy gas-guzzlers?"
No, but it is the customer's fault that they build comfortable, survivable cars. It is the fault of CAFE that they produced so many tinker-toy skateboards.

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Posted by miniscule
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 2, 2009 at 7:56 am

The state parks budget is 0.1% of the state budget. grandstanding is right.

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Posted by UAW ?
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 2, 2009 at 8:19 pm

UAW can grandstand. The more they do the more I will buy Japanese.
Give me a good car at at good price. If GM cannot build a good Volt - I will send my money overseas.

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Posted by bru
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 2, 2009 at 11:31 pm

bru is a registered user.

Oh come on now ... they won't have to monitor the beaches for trespassing or spend money to maintain them .... Arnie has the solution, he'll just sell them cheap to his buddies, after all someone who owns something takes better care of it than the public, we all know that, RIGHT? Capitalism and the free-market at its best. Take over the government and then loot the country.

Maybe I'm too cynical, but I cannot help but think that is what is in store here, excuses to privatize the beaches. And it is a great time to sell the beaches at a bargain basement price too.

Ever been to South CA and seen how much harder it is to find a beach to walk around on over there?

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Posted by Mary
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jun 3, 2009 at 1:04 am

Why does the governor think people chose to live here? One of the reasons is our access to the beautiful out-of-doors. Without that, there are 49 other states where we can choose to live.

If we decide to emigrate, his tax problem grows bigger. I, for one, have lived in several other states--none of them bankrupt--and without the assets that make life here special, question the high cost of living here. Someone else will get to pay my share of taxes, including neighbors who pay $300 in annual property tax, thanks to Prop 13, on a house valued at $1 million +.

If the Governator was as tough as he says he is, he would take on Prop 13 and the initiatives situation, finding a way to keep seniors in their homes while creating a more equitable property taxation system. Another reason those other 49 states don't look so bad. Who tarnished the gold in the Golden State? It wasn't the current governor, but it's his opportunity to bring it back to brilliance--everything from schools (First to Worst) to our state parks. Let's see if he's got the muscle for it.

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Posted by Rodents
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jun 3, 2009 at 11:40 am

The problem here is the unions, specifically the most powerful unions the police, fire and teachers. These unions are so powerful that they cannot be touched, hence arnie is forced to cut the weakest. I have a friend who works at EMS in SF (union) and he explains how the fire & police unions are so almighty that they take and extremely disproportionate share of SF's budget. His group has to cut to the bone, but the fire stations/personnel are largely untouched. When a study found the city could be served properly by less fire stations per sq mile, the fire unions created a voter measure requiring the higher numbers of stations. These groups are so powerful that they are now untouchable, and any politician who opposes them commits political suicide. What can be done?

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Posted by bru
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 3, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Police and prisons, seem to have a lot of priority and resources. But isn't that what you would expect.

What can really change that? The only thing I can think of is legalizing marijuana. I would expect, could be wrong, that other drug use would go down, marijuana money to gangs would go down, and possibly tax revenue might go up, but I doubt by much since pot is so easy to grow on one's own.

I would expect that for a while the bums who lived off selling pot would become real criminals and end up in the system anyway,but at least we would be getting the real bad guys.

Also, we should put these people to work in some way.

And how can we continue to exist without some programs that make people productive in some way. For example, we say we want litter free parks, beaches and highways, but no one wants to pay for it? Everyone want to be rich and thinks they will get to be rich by paying no taxes, and letting the country as a whole decline.

Our expectations are way out of order. We need to get real, but how can we get real when our country is marketed to us like soap with unrealistic expectations like this that do not add up?

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Posted by Molly
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 3, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Please let's find a way to keep the parks. I moved out here from South Carolina and miss the Blue Ridge Mountains. Castle Rock State Park is my favorite place to go to stay sane and get a break from the high-density Bay Area. Miles, the park ranger has worked there for 30 years - listen to the interesting stories he tells.

The thought that this pristine park could be closed to citizens and sold off to developers makes me sick to my stomach.

I'm doing the Skyline to Sea trail with friends in July - it goes through two of the proposed parks to close, including the Big Basin Redwoods, home of the beautiful Redwood trees.

I don't know about bandstanding and trying to hit liberals where it hurts. What are we supposed to do?

Parks aren't just a luxury - they're an education. They teach everyone to value nature, the cycle of life - they give kids a chance to see something different.

Could the Sierra Club or environmental groups offer to buy them if they go on the market?

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Posted by bruce
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 3, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Molly, write and call the governor, and do it often.

I wish there was a recall process to contribute to, what the
Republicans did to Gray Davis to put this moron in office was
really unfair.

Let your voice be heard, and demand that they not close that

California, with like the 9th largest economy in the world,
comparable to whole countries, and we cannot afford to run
the state. I think we need to up taxes. Is there another

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Posted by hcc2009
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:47 am

hcc2009 is a registered user.

My guess is that closing the parks is not so much to save money as for the Governator to generate a firestorm of public support for whatever budget hack he proposes next. What gets me is that Governator was behind the dethroning of Gray Davis, but no one has stepped up to toss HIM out on HIS ear. He's been far worse than Davis.

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Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 4, 2009 at 10:43 am

Arnie is toying with us. Let them close or come up with a day fee solution. This is a PR stunt!

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Posted by bru
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 4, 2009 at 11:04 am

bru is a registered user.

George, you're probably right, and that is why I think the Terminator should be terminated - we do not need government by publicity stunt. He said he would lead, and he is really interested in getting governor under his belt for something more, that is why he won't lead, there is too much danger is taking a real stand, so he pulls this crap over and over. He is way worse than Gray Davis in my opinion.

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