State Parks Become Victim of Budget Slashing

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Several states struggling to fight budget shortfalls are announcing plans to shutter parks, recreation areas and reserves in an effort to save a little money.

California alone plans to close 70 parks, ranging from the obscure (Zmudowski State Beach) to the fairly popular (Tomales Bay State Park - pictured).

Other states hanging out the "Closed for Business" sign include Arizona, Georgia, Oklahoma and Rhode Island. TreeHugger reports that Utah and Texas have also severely cut their parks' budgets, though avoided closures, while Florida has taken far more drastic measures.

Sunshine State legislators are looking into the possibility of privatizing more than 50 state parks, allowing corporations to run camping areas and add RV sites. Honeymoon Island, a beautiful castaway spot just off the coast, could become a major campsite.

Meanwhile, even states that are keeping their parks open are putting off the sort of repairs that would have been a priority in the past. Niagara Falls State Park in New York is in notably bad shape, and it seems unlikely a contractor will be arriving any time soon.

The silver lining to this particular cloud is that even after the closures there will be more than 6,000 operational parks in the U.S. Hopefully there will be some safety in numbers.

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