California may close 100 state parks

Schwarzenegger ready to terminate trail access?

Thousands of legal trails could be compromised in California if parks are closed. According to recent reports, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is prepared to close as many as 100 California state parks after Labor Day, September 7.

The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) is urging its California-affiliated clubs and mountain bike patrols to contact the state parks they use in their areas and discuss with them ways that the mountain bike community can help relieve the financial stresses on individual parks.

Nationwide, mountain bikers volunteer almost a million hours to public trails and other facilities annually. California state parks stand to benefit from volunteers who give their time to repair trails, keep an eye on maintenance issues and perform other tasks as determined by park staff.

"Mountain bikers have partnered with California parks on literally hundreds of projects over the years, providing free labor and a heartfelt desire to help protect and preserve these public resources," said Tom Ward, IMBA's policy advisor in California. "The specific services our volunteers provide will be unique to each park. We hope to create action plans with a number of parks in the next several weeks."

Ward served as a director of recreation during a 20-year career with California State Parks. He notes that the final list of which parks stay open may be influenced by the number of local groups that come forward to help during the financial crisis.

Ward is available to assist clubs in making agreements with their local state parks. His phone number is 916-441-6035.

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