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Budget shortfall could close Picacho recreation area
The Picacho State Recreation Area will be closed to the public beginning July 1. The SRA, located in California about 24 miles north of Winterhaven, will remain closed indefinitely.
“This would depend on future funding to operate the park and to repair any damage that might have occurred during the closed period,” said Gail Sevrens, acting district superintendent of the Colorado Desert District of California State Parks.
The Picacho SRA is one of several parks in California being closed this year because of state budget cuts.
The Picacho SRA consists of approximately 6,769 acres, of which 51,165 feet is located along the waterfront. There are 69 individual campsites, nine group campsites, day-use picnic areas, trails, two docks and several launch points. It currently provides the only shore access for day use and camping in the area.
According to Sevrens,the majority of visitors to the park come from southern California and the Yuma area. In the 2009-2010 season there were 142,000 day use visitors, 20,000 campers, and 1,500 boat launches.
Much of the park property is on federal land principally owned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
“We are currently trying to see if we can work out a cost-sharing agreement with BLM so that we can continue to manage the lands and keep the park open,” Sevrens said.
Currently, 11 other parks that had been on the closure list throughout the state will remain open through such agreements. Partnership negotiations are in progress with cities, counties, nonprofits and other entities in an effort to keep an additional 24 parks open.
“The Department has done workshops throughout the state, seeking any and all eligible partners to find ways to keep parks open for public use and enjoyment,” said Roy Stearns, California State Parks spokesman.
“We cannot estimate at this time how many parks will actually be saved through this process, however we remain optimistic.”
Chris McDaniel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6849.