Emerald Bay State Park (state photo)
The news that California’s state parks won’t be closing after all is prompting sighs of relief from Tahoe-area tourism officials.
Parks have been on the chopping block since May, when the governor proposed closing nearly all 280 of them. Recently, officials had said they could close up to 100 parks. But Friday afternoon, the Schwarzenegger administration announced it had found other ways to make up a $14 million deficit. That’s great for the Tahoe area, says Andy Chapman with the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association.
Chapman: “It’s a big part of our tourism economy up here, it’s a big part of the product offering that we offer, and it’s what our visitors are expecting when they come up here.”
Instead of closing the parks entirely, the state will reduce maintenance and keep some parks open just part-time. That could include extending the seasonal closures for parks only open part of the year. Chapman says that would be a concern.
Chapman: “We would obviously like to see parks opening around Memorial Day, if not a little bit before that, and then stretch into the fall season.”
Chapman says Tahoe-area tourism officials and parks supporters will continue to lobby the state in hopes of keeping the budget impact as invisible as possible.