Help save Picacho State Recreation Area

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Help save Picacho State Recreation Area


Post by BorregoWrangler » Sun Aug 28, 2011 1:16 am

I've spent a lot of time out here all my life. Love it and would hate to see it close down.
Picacho park on California closure list

The Picacho State Recreation Area (SRA) in California, a popular outdoor getaway for Yuma residents, will be closed by July 2012 due to state funding cuts.

Located 24 miles north of Winterhaven, the SRA is one of 70 of the state's 278 parks that will be closed as the result of a bill signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in March that trims $11 million from the parks budget in the fiscal year that begins July 1 and $22 million the next fiscal year.

“We anticipate the state closing all those parks that do not have partners by July 2012,” said Roy Stearns, California State Parks spokesman. “That is when the $22 million budget hit would come home to roost. If it is possible to close it before that, then that might be done, but we don't know yet.

“That is one of those personnel things. If you are going to lay off people or move people, you have to give them notice of that. The process is about a year long.”

After the Picacho closure, there will be no personnel on duty, the park facilities and bathrooms will be closed, and the water, sewer and electricity will be shut off.

California State Parks has not yet decided whether to make the park off limits to the public during the closure but is considering leaving it open to thwart the possible production of narcotics in the abandoned area.

“It is a very remote park,” Stearns said. “But having said that, we are also experimenting with some of the parks to leave the gate open because if you close the gate, people who have intentions of vandalism, theft, growing marijuana or starting a meth lab or ripping out things are protected behind a closed gate.

“If you leave it open and our friends, volunteers and neighbors come by periodically and help us keep on eye on it, maybe that is smarter.”

According to California State Parks, 100 years ago Picacho was a gold mining town with 100 citizens. Today the area offers diverse scenery, including beavertail cactus, wild burros, bighorn sheep and thousands of migratory waterfowl. Eight miles of the lower Colorado River are the recreation area's eastern border.

According to Stearns, Picacho SRA receives about 160,000 visitors a year. If the park is closed to the public, the state would lose revenue generated from usage fees.

“By closing these 70 parks, we have a hit of about $5 million in lost revenue.” However, that is offset by the savings expected to be made from the closure, Stearns added.

“It could be two years, three years, five years” before the park reopens, he said. “We would like it not to be indefinite. They are parks for a reason and the public wanted them set aside for a reason, so our job is to look for ways in the future to put them back.

“Parks on the local, state and national level are not designed to make a profit. They are designed to be a service for the people and protect those special places that everyone wants to visit and see on the weekends or on vacation.”

Stearns has no doubt the park will reopen someday when the economy improves.For more information about the park, log on to
They are also in a contest to try to win one of 3 grants in the Vote For America's Favorite Park campaign sponsored by Coca Cola. Even without wining the grant, it sends a message that people care about this place. Voting ends Sept. 6th.

Also, if you're on Facebook.. they have a page located here:

The girls say "Please help save Picacho!"
-John Graham
1989 YJ & 2000 TJ

View all my trip reports here at my blog: GrahamCrackers

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