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California’s park system – an enormous 1.5 million acres - is the biggest (and possibly the most beautiful) collection of public lands in the country. Well, it was. A big chunk of it is about to become a casualty of America’s massive budget crunch
By July 2012, 70 parks will be closed, left behind by a cash-strapped legislature that says it can no longer afford them. Once the rangers leave, many fear that the Golden State’s natural wonderlands will not just go to seed — they could become a hotbed for drugs, vandalism and squatting.
“We want to make sure we’re not creating a climate for meth labs and who knows what else,” Ruth Coleman, director of state parks, told The Daily.
It’s a sad fate ahead for one of America’s flagship park systems. With more than 70 million visitors a year, it ranks second only to the national parks in popularity. Not only that, but California’s parkland “represents some of the most extraordinary resources in the United States,” said Elizabeth Goldstein, president of the California State Parks Foundation.
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