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We’ve Got A Question For...Ruth Coleman

Q: As the director of California State Parks, can you explain how authorities will go about closing a series of vast natural areas? 

A: We’re not going to be rigid, and we’re going to work with local park staff. By July the parks that have some kind of deal with fund-raising will stay open. If they don’t, the parks will move into “caretaker” status. Our goal is to preserve these resources. We’re not abandoning these areas, but we’re withdrawing our staff. It’s counterintuitive, but I’ve been advised by colleagues in other states not to gate off the parks—it attracts a negative element. So we’re going to experiment by closing some gates and leaving others open. We’re hoping these closures are a temporary situation.