Mass Historia
Hints, Tips and Musings on Living History and Vintage Dance
RSS Feed
The Gentleman's Page
About Mass Historia
Social Daunce Irregulars
Art Deco Society
Join the Dance & History mailing list
E-mail Address


« Dance Class Technology | Main | Living History Protest in Sacramento »

The Governor's Plan to Close State Parks

I don't generally make political comments on the web, but Governor Schwarzenegger's recent proposal to close a raft of state parks to address the budget deficit has me livid.

This is not just because I have volunteered for over 15 years at Los Encinos State Historic Park, my local historic adobe, which we saw through the long and frustrating process of rebuilding after the 1994 earthquake. It finally reopened last year, and now Arnold is threatening to close it, along with most of the historic parks of my acquaintance, to include Pio Pico Adobe, Will Rogers' House, Mission La Purisima and even the Grand Daddy of them all: Sutter's Fort. These parks are on the block not for any intrinsic lack of historical or natural importance, but because they don't generate sufficient revenue. It would appear that if history or wilderness can't compete in the marketplace, then out it goes. Perhaps some future generation might say "If that long lost place were here today, we would value it and monetize it properly", but they won't have that chance if these parks don't survive the fluctuations of the heritage market.

I will say that I don't actually think these parks will be closed--this time. I think this is just a game of political chicken, with the Governor holding these parks hostage in his battle with the Legislature. What infuriates me is that these places have been put on the table as just another government program to be sliced, diced or dropped like any other. Perhaps now that the threshold has been passed, even if the parks survive this round, next time it will be easier to start shutting down our wilderness and historical heritage.

Our parks are a public trust. Thousands of citizens have invested their time, passion and treasure in preserving these places for future generations. In many cases public spirited tax payers fought hard and long to save these places from development with the goal of one day turning the park over to the State to be preserved. They trusted the State of California. Putting these parks on the block as bargaining chips is a fundamental betrayal of that trust.

So, if you happen to be out there fighting hard to keep some historic or natural treasure from being turned into a strip mall, don't make turning it over to the State your final goal. Our politicians and bureaucrats don't feel compelled to meet their current obligations and will not hesitate to make your treasure a political bargaining chip.

Walter Nelson


Do you know if there is a petition to sign?

I am not aware of any.

I wonder if Huell Howser is aware of the proposal to close state parks? I'm sure that he would oppose it too.

We frequent these types of sites on a regular basis. Our Grandchildren love attending functions as well as just visiting these sites. Sharing the history of our state with our children and grandchildren is so very important. Closing them off from seeing that would be a grave mistake. Once they are gone, there is no turning back. Most of this property was left in a trust with stipulations...what about the respect those trusts should be shown? The families who gave prime property to the state to share the history with future generations. Perhaps the sites should be working hard to bring events to the sites to bring in revenue. Use the property to generate funds for the cause! Do not close them...Use them!