On Quality of Life: State and National Parks

May 24, 2011

Part I: National Parks - Central California's National Parks are known worldwide and attract millions of visitors each year. In 2010, over 4 million people visited Yosemite National Park, just short of breaking the park's all-time record. But those visitors bring big city problems with them, from traffic jams, to pollution and safety concerns. This week on Quality of Life, we examine the difficult task of balancing public access with preservation of natural resources, in Yosemite and beyond. Should certain popular areas be restricted, and what's the most equitable way to do that? We ask those questions and more on this segment on Quality of Life. Our guests include John Rasmussen, executive committee member of the Sierra Club's Tehipite Chapter; and Ron Sundergill, Pacific Senior Regional Director, National Parks Conservation Association.

Part II: California State Parks - Earlier this month, California Governor Jerry Brown announced a proposal to close 70 of the state's 278 state parks, in order to save some $11 million dollars in the coming fiscal year. In Central California, the list of closures includes the Tule Elk State Natural Reserve and the Fort Tejon State Historic Park in Kern County, and the Mariposa Mining and Mineral Museum in Mariposa County. In response, a new bill in the Assembly would make it easier for non-profit organizations to assume some responsibilities for operating state parks. What would that plan mean for the state parks system, and is the process of closing parks a costly proposition? Guests Kathy Weatherman, Tehachapi District Superintendent for the State Department of Parks and Recreation; and Jerry Emory, Communications Director for the California State Parks Foundation, join us to talk about the future of California's state parks.