Can another park be saved from extinction?
Although two popular park attractions in Yuma have been saved from closure, it appears the same may not be true for the Picacho State Recreation Area across the river in California.
Word has come that California state government, suffering its own severe fiscal difficulties, has plans to close the popular Picacho park, located 24 miles north of Winterhaven on the Colorado River, in July 2012 due to cuts in the budget for that state's parks.
It is a very similar scenario to what happened with the Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park and the Yuma Territorial Prison State Park, which were both placed on closure lists due to revenue shortfalls for Arizona's state government in recent years.
Fortunately, those parks have survived thanks to community support and partnerships. By putting them under local control, both have been able to remain open.
The Picacho recreation area is popular with local campers and nature lovers. It is scenic and peaceful. California park officials say it gets about 160,000 visitors a year — which is a significant number given its remote location.
There is some hope that full closure might be avoided, although there would be no parks personnel or facilities.
Roy Stearns, California State Parks spokesman, said they are considering allowing access to some parks rather than locking them up. It is hoped that might help prevent vandalism and other abuses.
“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,” he said.
It looks to us like this may be an opportunity for another community effort to protect this park until California can find the resources to support it in the future. It would be a shame to totally lose this scenic location.