As the California budget crises continues, the question of how the state will shut down to close the public spaces of some state parks remains open to speculation.
Twin Lakes State Beach in Santa Cruz may be the most unusual California State Park slated to close July 1st. Most parks can shut its gates to the public.
"How do you close a beach like this? There aren't any walls or any kind of fencing, really, that we can put up," said Laura Kasa, the Executive Director for non-profit marine conservation organization Save our Shores.
In this case, for the state closure means no services such as rest rooms, lifeguards, and rangers. Twin Lakes draws half a million visitors a year.
"People just don't clean up as much as they should and you should see it after fourth of July. It's chaos," said Santa Cruz resident Lisa Schaechter. "Fourth of July weekend is one of our biggest weekends down there. You're going to have people, campfires on the beach, all the rest of the stuff."
Area government officials also have concerns about the proposed closure.
"There's law enforcement issues. There's garbage issues. There's everything else. They can't put a fence around that thing," said Santa Cruz County Supervisor Neal Coonerty.
Some state parks have been saved mainly by non-profit groups. But some of those rescuers warn they're not the solution, just a reprieve.
Santa Cruz Mission was rescued, temporarily, by a three-year deal between the State and the group Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks. They plan to raise $45,000 a year through donations and grants and opening the Mission to private events.
"It's not a sustainable way to run our parks system. We're very lucky that this is a supportive community. But the State Parks system is here for all of California and we believe that there needs to be funding that comes from a statewide basis," said Executive Director of Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks Bonny Hawley.
The non-profit Save Our Shores is also seeking donations to help pay for reduced services at Twin Lakes. While state officials believe these arrangements are models for the future, ironically Save Our Shores lost its state funding this year.
"So while we're being looked at as the partner to help clean the beaches up, we're already out here 250-times a year. There's no funding for us to do this, " said Laura Kasa.
Some visitors to Twin Lakes are still worried. After seeing crime such as the vandalism at Mount Diablo State Park this week, they are concerned about lack of security.
This week, the state legislature is reviewing funding bills including one making it easier for the public to pay for fees and bill proposes shifting road maintenance funds to cover parks' expenses.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.
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